CDC reports annual financial cost of COPD to be $36 billion in the United States

Direct medical costs projected to increase to an estimated $49 billion annually by 2020

July 24, 2014

Glenview, Illinois—The American College of Chest Physicians (CHEST) announced today the Online First publication of Total and State-Specific Medical and Absenteeism Costs of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease Among Adults Aged ≥18 Years in the United States for 2010 and Projections Through 2020 in the journal CHEST

The report, presented by researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), finds:


Chronic lower respiratory diseases, including COPD, are the third-leading cause of death in the United States. COPD claimed the lives of 134,676 people in 2010. In 2011, 12.7 million US adults were estimated to have COPD. However, close to 24 million US adults have evidence of impaired lung function, indicating an underdiagnosis of COPD. Smoking is a primary risk factor of COPD, and approximately 80% of COPD deaths can be attributed to smoking.

“Evidence-based interventions that prevent and reduce tobacco use and reduce clinical complications of COPD may result in potential decreased COPD-attributable costs,” said Earl Ford, MD, MPH, Division of Population Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

The report also offers state-by-state data. “For the first time, our analyses provide state-specific costs for COPD, which provide state public health practitioners with estimates of the economic burden of COPD within their borders and illustrates the potential medical and absenteeism costs savings to states through implementing state level programs that are designed to prevent the onset of COPD,” says Earl Ford, MD, researcher with the Division of Population Health, CDC.

The full study can be found in the Online First section of CHEST.

About the CHEST Journal
CHEST is a peer-reviewed journal published by CHEST. The journal is available online each month. CHEST is a global community of clinicians and allied health professionals working in pulmonary, critical care, and sleep medicine. The organization is recognized as a resource for advanced training through simulation education, conferences, and innovative courses. Headquartered in Glenview, Illinois, CHEST represents more than 18,700 members from more than 100 countries.

Contact: Kristi Bruno, kbruno@chestnet.org

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