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.