THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA
BACKGROUND: Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a growing economic burden worldwide. Smoking cessation is thought to be the single most effective way of reducing the economic burden of COPD. The impact of other strategies such as interventions that predict risk of disease, reduce progression of disease, or reduce exacerbations has not been systematically studied.
OBJECTIVES: We estimated the economic and clinical burden of COPD over the next 25 years in Canada and the impact of three potential interventions (screening test for predisposition to COPD, new drugs to avoid progression into more severe disease stages, and predictive test for exacerbations) on COPD burden.
METHODS: Using a dynamic simulation model, we projected the total burden of COPD (cost, morbidity, and mortality) from 2011 to 2035 using the population of Canada as a case study. The model stratified population based on sex, age, smoking status, respiratory symptoms, and their COPD stage. The cost and quality adjusted life years (QALYs) associated with each intervention were estimated.
RESULTS: The model indicates that annual societal cost of COPD is $4.52 billion (B) Canadian dollars in 2011 and will reach $3.61B ($7.33B undiscounted) per year in 2035. Over the next 25 years, COPD will be responsible for approximately $101.4B in societal costs ($147.5B undiscounted) and 12.9 million QALYs lost (19.0 million undiscounted). Our results suggested that the best strategy to reduce the financial burden of COPD is by reducing exacerbations. Smoking cessation, while it is the cornerstone of COPD prevention, has only a modest effect in attenuating the financial burden of COPD over the next 25 years in Western countries such as Canada.
CONCLUSION: Our data suggest that any intervention that can reduce the number of exacerbations has a substantial impact on morbidity and costs of COPD and should be considered in conjunction with the ongoing efforts to reduce smoking rates.