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The relevance of COPD in World Economic Crisis

14 de novembro de 2011

World COPD Day

The relevance of COPD in World Economic Crisis

Chronic bronchitis and emphysema take a heavy toll on the economy. In 2010, the US national annual cost of COPD was estimated at $49.9 billion by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.[1]

Healthcare costs, disability, and lost productivity from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease are of vital relevance to business management. The economic burden of chronic pulmonary disease on employers, and why proper management of employees with this progressive condition can save significant costs to the company, while also improving productivity. [2,3]

The COPD X- Ray and Economy

COPD and Economic Burden

Medical costs alone were 3 times greater for employees with this disease than for others. Absenteeism and presenteeism are particularly prevalent to this patient population. Raising awareness to smoking cessation in the workplace and implementing successful incentives to stop smoking, diagnosis COPD and provide early treatment for COPD employees, can greatly improve productivity and reduce costs to employers. [4]

Usually senior management is less interested in the incidence of disease or minor improvements with medication or with vaccine prevention. That is not convincing in terms of making a business decision. But if they know that the cost for an employee with COPD averaged $20,000, as opposed to $8000 for an employee without COPD – or in other words – That they are losing $12,000 per employee because of COPD, this becomes an incentive to do something to stop unnecessary losts at any time, mainly at this current world credit crunch crisis.[2]
Education Math Formula: SMOKING = COPD + PLUS

The interaction of business and regulatory initiatives can help reduce the economic burden of this diseases from the lost of productivity of companies to the soceity that pay its taxes, but mainly for people that have the disease.
And it starts with education about the disease…

Maybe, this could be a relevant message we need to get out to employers, government officials and also to the industrial stakeholders to fight the nowadays economic crisis.

And Maybe the message through the “didactical Math Smoking formula” could help decrease the unknowledge about the tobacco related diseases as expressed in:
Smoking = COPD + Plus [5]

But the most important is to treat the smoking patients with gentle targeting the decrease of the social and economic burden that generates 52 diseases tobacco related, make popular the COPD term, and also save lives.  More than Math, it is priceless!


  1.    Lung Association. Trends in COPD (chronic bronchitis and emphysema): morbidity and mortality. February 2010. May 23, 2011.
  2. Bunn W, Pikelny D, Vogenberg FR, et al. Validation of employerfocused actuarial model for measuring the economic burden of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. J Health Productiv. 2008;3:3-8.
  3. Halbert RJ, Isonaka S, George D, Igbal A. Interpreting COPD prevalence estimates: what is the true burden of disease? Chest. 2003;123: 1684-1692.
  4. Darkow T, Kadlubek PJ, Shah H, et al. A retrospective analysis of disability and its related costs among employees with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. J Occup Environ Med. 2007;49:22-30.
  5. Nascimento, MHS. The Mathematics of Smoking =COPD + Plus. PulmaoSA Website

With all respect,
Marcos Nascimento, MD.
Professor at PUCPR College of Medicine

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