Health care use and economic burden of patients with diagnosed chronic obstructive pulmonary disease in Korea

Int J Tuberc Lung Dis. 2014 Jun;18(6):737-43. doi: 10.5588/ijtld.13.0634.


Background: The prevalence and economic burden of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) are increasing worldwide. However, little information is available concerning COPD-associated health care use and costs in Korea.

Objective: To analyse 1) health care use, medical costs and medication use in 2009, and 2) changes in costs and medication use over 5 years (2006-2010).

Design: Using the database of the Korean Health Insurance Review and Assessment Service, COPD patients were identified by searching on both ICD-10 codes and COPD medication. RESULTS A total of 192,496 COPD patients were identified in 2009. Total medical costs per person were US$2803 ± 3865; the average annual number of days of out-patient care and days of hospitalisation were respectively 40 ± 36 and 11 ± 33. Methylxanthine and systemic beta-agonists were the most frequently used drugs. However, the number of prescriptions for long-acting muscarinic antagonist increased rapidly. The total cost of COPD-related medications increased by 33.1% over 5 years.

Conclusion: The present study provides new insight into health care use and the economic burden of COPD in Korea. Changing patterns of COPD-related medication use could help inform COPD management policies.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Ambulatory Care / economics
  • Ambulatory Care / statistics & numerical data
  • Bronchodilator Agents / economics*
  • Bronchodilator Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Drug Costs* / trends
  • Drug Utilization Review
  • Female
  • Health Resources / economics*
  • Health Resources / statistics & numerical data*
  • Health Resources / trends
  • Hospital Costs / trends
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prevalence
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / diagnosis
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / drug therapy*
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / economics*
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / epidemiology
  • Republic of Korea / epidemiology
  • Time Factors
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Bronchodilator Agents