Arch Bronconeumol. 2004 Feb;40(2):72-9 Masa JF, Sobradillo V, Villasante C, Jimenez-Ruiz CA, Fernandez-Fau L, Viejo JL, Miravitlles M. Seccion de Neumologia. Hospital San Pedro de Alcantara. Caceres. Espana.

OBJECTIVE: In the studies carried out to date, the cost of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) may have been overestimated due to the inclusion of previously diagnosed patients seeking medical attention for their symptoms. As a result, the severity of the cases included in these studies may have been greater than in an unselected sample of the general population. The aim of the present study was to estimate the direct cost of COPD on the basis of a representative sample of the overall Spanish population between 40 and 69 years of age (from the IBERPOC study).

METHOD: The cost was evaluated retrospectively by means of a questionnaire completed by the 363 patients with COPD from the IBERPOC study with questions referring to the previous year. Standardized spirometry was performed on all the patients by a pneumologist in each of the 7 geographical areas in which the study was carried out.

RESULTS: Hospitalization accounted for the greatest expenditure (41% of total), followed by drug therapy (37%). The cost was euro;98.39 per patient, and euro;909.50 per previously diagnosed patient. The cost per person of severe COPD was more than 3 times that of moderate COPD and more than 7 times that of mild COPD. The estimated annual cost of COPD in Spain was euro;238.82 million (for 1997).

CONCLUSION: The present study, which was the first to estimate the cost of COPD in a representative sample of the general population, found the cost to be lower than in studies analyzing samples of patients with previous diagnoses of COPD. The cost distribution is not in line with recommended health care practices, underlining the need to optimize resources used to monitor and treat the disease, with an emphasis on early diagnosis.




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