The Economic Burden of Asthma in Greece: A Cross-Sectional Study
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The high prevalence rates of asthma worldwide and the chronic nature of the disease make asthma a major cause of morbidity, imposing a significant socio-economic burden in many countries. Specifically in Greece, the self-reported prevalence of asthma reached 9% in 2017.
The objective of this study was to estimate the total management cost of asthma in Greece and its potential determinants.
A population-based, random-digit-dialed telephone nationwide survey was conducted to recruit patients with asthma in Greece (n = 353). A structured questionnaire was used to collect data on demographic and lifestyle characteristics, exacerbations, asthma control, medical resource utilization, and productivity loss during the past 12 months. The total annual direct cost from the societal, payer, and patient perspective as well as the indirect cost was calculated. All costs refer to the year 2017 (€). The significance level was set to α = 0.05.
The mean (95% confidence interval) annual total cost per patient for asthma management from the societal, payer, and patient perspective was €895 (696–1105), €673 (497–861), and €151 (119–188), respectively. The direct medical cost accounted for almost 90% of the total cost, whereas only 4% was attributed to the indirect cost. The direct medical cost was mainly driven by the medication cost (48%). The total annual societal cost was statistically significantly higher in those with not well-controlled asthma (p = 0.014) and those experiencing exacerbations during the past 12 months (p < 0.001) than in their counterparts. The total annual economic burden of asthma in Greece was estimated at €727 million and €547 million from the societal and payer perspective, respectively.
Our findings indicate that asthma imposes a high economic burden on society and the healthcare system in Greece. Therefore, greater investment in interventions aimed at asthma control and prevention of acute exacerbations may reduce the overall burden of asthma in Greece.
K.V. conducted part of the data analysis and wrote the manuscript. G.K. designed the study, conducted part of the analysis, interpreted the results, and wrote part of the manuscript. She also reviewed the manuscript. N.M., P.B., and S.L. contributed in the study design, questionnaire development, results interpretation, and manuscript writing.
Compliance with Ethical Standards
This study was funded by the Hellenic Thoracic Society. The authors would like to thank the Hellenic Thoracic Society for this sponsorship.
Conflict of Interest
The authors, Katerina Vellopoulou, Petros Bakakos, Stelios Loukides, Nikos Maniadakis, and Georgia Kourlaba declare that they have no conflicts of interest related to the content of this study.
Data Availability Statement
The dataset, along with the software code, will be provided upon request.
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