Background: Up-to-date estimates of burden of diseases are required for evidence-based decision-making. The objectives of this study were to determine the excess costs of COPD and its trend from 2001 to 2010 in British Columbia, Canada.
Methods: We used British Columbia's administrative health data to construct a cohort of patients with COPD and a matched comparison cohort of subjects without COPD. We followed each patient from the time of first COPD-related health-care event (or equivalent time for the comparison cohort). Direct medical costs (in 2010 Canadian dollars [$]) were calculated based on billing records pertaining to hospital admissions, outpatient services use, medication dispensations, and community care services. We determined the excess medical costs of COPD by calculating the difference in overall medical costs between the COPD and the comparison cohorts.
Results: The COPD and comparison cohorts comprised 153,570 and 246,801 people, respectively (for both cohorts, mean age at entry was 66.9 years; 47.2% female patients). The excess costs of COPD during the study period were $5,452 per patient-year. Inpatient, outpatient, medication, and community care costs were responsible for 57%, 16%, 22%, and 5% of the excess costs, respectively. Excess costs increased by $296/person-y (P < .01), with hospital costs demonstrating the largest increase over time ($258/person-y; P < .01).
Conclusions: The direct economic burden of COPD is high and has increased significantly between 2001 and 2010 over and above the increase in the health-care costs of the general population. Further investigation is required to elucidate the underlying reasons for the temporal increase in COPD direct costs.