The Problem


The economic costs of asthma are among the
highest for non-communicable diseases (NCDs)
because of the substantial health service use, in many
cases over a lifetime . The largest direct costs are for
inpatient care and pharmaceuticals . The principal
indirect costs stem from loss of productivity due to
missed work and school .
While the exact cost of asthma worldwide cannot
be determined, a 2009 systematic review found 8
national studies which reported total cost, illustrating
its substantial impact . Of those with a study duration
of one year, the costs reported in 2008 US dollars
were all very high, but also varied widely: Canada
$654 million; Germany $2,740 million and $4,430
million; Singapore $49 .36 million; Switzerland $1,413
million; and USA $7,189 million, $8,256 million and
$2,300 million . In 2004, new cases of occupational
asthma alone in the United Kingdom cost GB£70–
100 million .
As the proportion of people with asthma in
the population rises, all of these costs will become
greater . Clearly more population-based research on
the economic burden of asthma is needed, especially
in low- and middle-income countries where the
prevalence of asthma is increasing


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