Americans are spending more than ever on respiratory healthcare, with COPD one of the leading factors.

Public Health

U.S. Patients Spending More on Respiratory Care

“U.S. spending on respiratory conditions is high, particularly for chronic conditions like asthma and COPD."

Spending on respiratory care has risen dramatically in recent years, according to a newly published analysis.

The analysis, appearing in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine in August 2022, examined the decade between 1996-2016 and found spending across all respiratory conditions in 2016 totaled $170.8 billion, an increase of $71.7 billion from 1996.

The respiratory conditions with the highest spending in 2016 were asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), which accounted for $35.5 billion and $34.3 billion, respectively.

“The U.S. spends more on healthcare than any other country in the world, without better outcomes,” wrote Dr. Kevin I. Duan, one of the authors of the analysis, in a Healio post. “Spending on respiratory diseases is no exception.”

The analysis examined healthcare spending on 11 respiratory conditions. They included asthma, COPD, tuberculosis, upper respiratory tract infections and whooping cough.

Data was taken from the Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation’s Disease Expenditure Project Database.

COPD refers to a group of diseases that cause airflow blockage and breathing problems for an estimated 16 million Americans who suffer from the affliction, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. COPD is the fourth-leading cause of death in the U.S., according to the CDC.

Diagnostic bronchoscopy is an effective tool for patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and its related diseases, according to a recent systematic review and meta-analysis.

Worldwide, COPD is expected to become the leading cause of death by 2033, Dr. S.A. Quaderi and Dr. J.R. Hurst write in “The Unmet Global Burden of COPD” in Global Health, Epidemiology and Genomics.

“U.S. spending on respiratory conditions is high, particularly for chronic conditions like asthma and COPD,” Duan and his coauthors wrote in their analysis. “Our findings suggest that service price and intensity, particularly for pharmaceuticals, should be a key focus of attention for policy makers seeking to reduce healthcare spending growth.”

Prescribed pharmaceuticals made up the bulk of the expenses in the asthma category, according to the analysis.

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