Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease

Pharmacy programmes are a cost-effective way to help patients manage COPD

Pharmacy-led adherence programmes are “highly cost effective” in improving self-management of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), according to a new report commissioned by the British Lung Foundation and the British Thoracic Society.

older woman with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease

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Report commissioned by the British Lung Foundation and the British Thoracic Society found that pharmacy-led adherence improvement programme and telehealth were found to be highly cost effective

Pharmacy-led adherence programmes are “highly cost effective” in improving self-management of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), according to a new report commissioned by the British Lung Foundation and the British Thoracic Society.

The  focuses on the economic costs of lung disease and the cost effectiveness of policy and service interventions, based on a review of 38 studies.

According to the report, in 2011, England spent £1.5bn on direct costs for COPD, and Scotland £159m. These figures, the authors say, do not include the additional costs of community nursing. In 2012, the UK as a whole spent £964.9m on asthma services and treatments, with a further £146.9m going on state benefits related to the condition. Cystic fibrosis figures for 2012, which were provided in euros, amounted to an annual ‘per patient’ cost of €21,316 for direct costs and a further €21,716 for indirect costs.

In their report, the authors say: “For COPD self-management, smoking cessation advice or campaigns, a pharmacy-led adherence improvement programme and telehealth were found to be highly cost effective and often less costly and more effective, except for nurse-led self-management.”

However, while describing smoking cessation as “one of the most effective and cost effective ways to prevent and treat COPD”, the authors point out that “six in ten local authority areas in England have cut funding to stop smoking support services”.

“If the NHS and partners, across the board, appropriately invested in the highly effective treatments outlined in this report, there would be huge health and economic benefits for the NHS and society”.

Citation: The Salvadore DOI: 10.1211/PJ.2017.20203801

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