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      The direct and indirect costs of managing chronic obstructive pulmonary disease in Greece

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          COPD is associated with significant economic burden. The objective of this study was to explore the direct and indirect costs associated with COPD and identify the key cost drivers of disease management in Greece.


          A Delphi panel of Greek pulmonologists was conducted, which aimed at eliciting local COPD treatment patterns and resource use. Resource use was translated into costs using official health insurance tariffs and Diagnosis-Related Groups (DRGs). In addition, absenteeism and caregiver’s costs were recorded in order to quantify indirect COPD costs.


          The total costs of managing COPD per patient per year were estimated at €4,730, with direct (medical and nonmedical) and indirect costs accounting for 62.5% and 37.5%, respectively. COPD exacerbations were responsible for 32% of total costs (€1,512). Key exacerbation-related cost drivers were hospitalization (€830) and intensive care unit (ICU) admission costs (€454), jointly accounting for 85% of total exacerbation costs. Annual maintenance phase costs were estimated at €835, with pharmaceutical treatment accounting for 77% (€639.9). Patient time costs were estimated at €146 per year. The average number of sick days per year was estimated at 16.9, resulting in productivity losses of €968. Caregiver’s costs were estimated at €806 per year.


          The management of COPD in Greece is associated with intensive resource use and significant economic burden. Exacerbations and productivity losses are the key cost drivers. Cost containment policies should focus on prioritizing treatments that increase patient compliance as these can lead to reduction of exacerbations, longer maintenance phases, and thus lower costs.

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          Most cited references 13

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          COPD Surveillance—United States, 1999-2011

          This report updates surveillance results for COPD in the United States. For 1999 to 2011, data from national data systems for adults aged ≥ 25 years were analyzed. In 2011, 6.5% of adults (approximately 13.7 million) reported having been diagnosed with COPD. From 1999 to 2011, the overall age-adjusted prevalence of having been diagnosed with COPD declined (P = .019). In 2010, there were 10.3 million (494.8 per 10,000) physician office visits, 1.5 million (72.0 per 10,000) ED visits, and 699,000 (32.2 per 10,000) hospital discharges for COPD. From 1999 to 2010, no significant overall trends were noted for physician office visits and ED visits; however, the age-adjusted hospital discharge rate for COPD declined significantly (P = .001). In 2010 there were 312,654 (11.2 per 1,000) Medicare hospital discharge claims submitted for COPD. Medicare claims (1999-2010) declined overall (P = .045), among men (P = .022) and among enrollees aged 65 to 74 years (P = .033). There were 133,575 deaths (63.1 per 100,000) from COPD in 2010. The overall age-adjusted death rate for COPD did not change during 1999 to 2010 (P = .163). Death rates (1999-2010) increased among adults aged 45 to 54 years (P < .001) and among American Indian/Alaska Natives (P = .008) but declined among those aged 55 to 64 years (P = .002) and 65 to 74 years (P < .001), Hispanics (P = .038), Asian/Pacific Islanders (P < .001), and men (P = .001). Geographic clustering of prevalence, Medicare hospitalizations, and deaths were observed. Declines in the age-adjusted prevalence, death rate in men, and hospitalizations for COPD since 1999 suggest progress in the prevention of COPD in the United States.
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            Prevalence of COPD in Greece.

            The prevalence of COPD in Greece is unknown. The aim of this study was to determine the prevalence and trends of COPD among adults in Greece. This study involved 888 randomly identified adults (475 men and 413 women) aged > 35 years, and smokers of at least 100 cigarettes, in a population-based, multiregional, cross-sectional descriptive design. The selected individuals reflected the urban/rural population distribution in Greece and, within each study region, the age group and gender of the community setting. The diagnosis of COPD was based on clinical and spirometric data including reversibility test (DeltaFEV(1) 35 years with a smoking history of > 100 cigarettes per lifetime was 8.4%. The gender-standardized COPD prevalence was 11.6% for men and 4.8% for women. The COPD prevalence by community setting was as follows: Athens, 6%; other urban areas, 10.1%; semiurban areas, 8.5%; and rural areas, 9.1%. Smoking intensity and age were significantly associated with higher COPD prevalence in both men and women. COPD is a substantial health problem in Greece, although prevalence rates are lower than expected when the high smoking rates are taken into account. The high proportion of the patients with mild COPD who were unaware of their illness highlights the need to increase public awareness of COPD.
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              The Delphi technique: making sense of consensus

               CC HSU,  BA Sandford,  C-C Hsu (2007)

                Author and article information

                Int J Chron Obstruct Pulmon Dis
                Int J Chron Obstruct Pulmon Dis
                International Journal of COPD
                International Journal of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease
                Dove Medical Press
                10 May 2017
                : 12
                : 1395-1400
                [1 ]Department of Social and Educational Policy, University of Peloponnese, Corinth
                [2 ]Department of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, Evangelismos Hospital, School of Medicine, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Athens
                [3 ]Department of Thoracic Medicine, Medical School, University General Hospital of Heraklion, Heraklion, Crete
                [4 ]Sixth Pulmonary Department, “Sotiria” Hospital for Thoracic Diseases, Athens, Greece
                Author notes
                Correspondence: Hara Kousoulakou, Department of Social and Educational Policy, University of Peloponnese, Damaskinou & Kolokotroni Street, Corinth 20100, Greece, Tel +30 697 373 1914, Email harakousoulakou@
                © 2017 Souliotis et al. This work is published and licensed by Dove Medical Press Limited

                The full terms of this license are available at and incorporate the Creative Commons Attribution – Non Commercial (unported, v3.0) License ( By accessing the work you hereby accept the Terms. Non-commercial uses of the work are permitted without any further permission from Dove Medical Press Limited, provided the work is properly attributed.

                Original Research

                Respiratory medicine

                greece, copd, indirect cost, direct cost, burden


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