Objective: The Global Initiative for Obstructive Lung Disease highlights the importance of COPD from public health, health policy and clinical perspectives. In countries such as the USA, the economic impact of COPD exceeds that of many chronic conditions. There is a paucity of data on the economic burden of COPD in Japan.
Methodology: Based upon publicly available information, a prevalence-based approach was used to construct a deterministic model to estimate the total direct and indirect costs of care for COPD in Japan. Data sources included a spirometry-based epidemiological study, the peer-reviewed literature, and governmental and industrial surveys. The most current data that addressed direct and indirect costs of care were utilized.
Results: In Japan, the estimated total cost of COPD is 805.5 billion yen (US 6.8 billion dollars) per year; 645.1 billion yen (US 5.5 billion dollars) in direct costs and 160.4 billion yen (US 1.4 billion dollars) in indirect costs. In direct costs, inpatient care accounted for 244.1 billion yen (US 2.1 billion dollars), outpatient care 299.3 billion yen (US 2.5 billion dollars), and home oxygen therapy 101.7 billion yen (US 0.9 billion dollars). The average annual total cost per patient for moderate/severe COPD is estimated to be 435,876 yen (US 3694 dollars); 349,080 yen (US 2958 dollars) per COPD patient in direct costs and 86,797 yen (US 795 dollars) in indirect costs.
Conclusion: COPD imposes a high economic burden on the Japanese healthcare system. Health policy makers should direct urgent attention to increasing prevention, early diagnosis, and appropriate treatment of COPD.