Non-communicable diseases are now the number one cause of disabilities and loss of life expectancy. Among them, chronic respiratory conditions constitute a major class. The burden of chronic respiratory diseases is generally increasing across the globe, and asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) are among the main causes of mortality and morbidity. However, the direct and indirect costs of these conditions vary across jurisdictions. This article reports on recent estimates of the costs of asthma and COPD, with a focus on comparing disease burden across different regions. Overall, there is tremendous variation in per capita annual costs of asthma and COPD. However, the methodology of the cost-of-illness studies is also vastly different, making it difficult to associate differences in reported costs to differences in the true burden of asthma and COPD. Suggestions are provided towards improving the validity and comparability of future studies.