Direct and indirect costs of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease in Korea

Changhwan Kim, Younhee Kim, Dong Wook Yang, Chin Kook Rhee, Sung Kyoung Kim, Yong Il Hwang, Yong Bum Park, Young Mok Lee, Seonglim Jin, Jinkyeong Park, Cho Rom Hahm, Chang Han Park, So Yeon Park, Cheol Kweon Jung, Yu Il Kim, Sang Haak Lee, Hyoung Kyu Yoon, Jin Hwa Lee, Seong Yong Lim, Kwang Ha Yoo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Background: Understanding the burden of disease is important to establish cost-effective treatment strategies and to allocate healthcare resources appropriately. However, little reliable information is available regarding the overall economic burden imposed by chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) in Korea. Methods: This study is a multicenter observational research on the COPD burden in Korea. Total COPD costs were comprised of three categories: direct medical, direct non-medical, and indirect costs. For direct medical costs, institutional investigation was performed at 13 medical facilities mainly based on the claims data. For direct non-medical and indirect costs, site-based surveys were administered to the COPD patients during routine visits. Total costs were estimated using the COPD population defined in the recent report. Results: The estimated total costs were approximately 1,245 million US dollar (1,408 billion Korean won). Direct medical costs comprised approximately 20% of the total estimated costs. Of these, formal medical costs held more than 80%. As direct non-medical costs, nursing costs made up the largest percentage (39%) of the total estimated costs. Costs for COPD-related loss of productivity formed four fifths of indirect costs, and accounted for up to 33% of the total costs. Conclusion: This study shows for the first time the direct and indirect costs of COPD in Korea. The total costs were enormous, and the costs of nursing and lost productivity comprised approximately 70% of total costs. The results provide insight for an effective allocation of healthcare resources and to inform establishment of strategies to reduce national burden of COPD.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)27-34
Number of pages8
JournalTuberculosis and Respiratory Diseases
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2019

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was supported by a grant of GlaxoSmithKline.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 The Korean Academy of Tuberculosis and Respiratory Diseases.


  • Chronic obstructive
  • Health care costs
  • Korea
  • Pulmonary disease


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