India could face third highest economic burden of COPD from 2020-50: Lancet Study
The third leading cause of death worldwide, COPD caused 3.3 million deaths in 2019, it said, with China recording the highest toll, followed by India and the USA
India is estimated to face the third highest economic burden of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) from 2020-50 after China and the US, new research published in The Lancet Global Health journal said.
The third leading cause of death worldwide, COPD caused 3.3 million deaths in 2019, it said, with China recording the highest toll, followed by India and the USA.
The global death toll of COPD was found to have increased by 14.1 per cent between 2009 and 2019, an increase that the study attributed to factors such as urbanisation, air pollution, and tobacco use.
Modelling COPD's economic burden for 204 countries and territories in 2020-50, the study found the disease to cost the world economy INT$4.3 trillion, the equivalent of a yearly tax of 0.11 per cent on global GDP and nearly half of India's total GDP in 2019. INT$, or International Dollar, is a hypothetical currency having the same purchasing power parity that the US dollar had in the United States at a given point in time.
The study also showed that the health and economic burdens of COPD are distributed unequally across countries and regions.
90 per cent of COPD-related deaths were found to occur in low-income and middle-income countries (LMICs), despite these countries accounting for only 83 per cent of the global population.
Even though LMICs only accounted for 56.4 per cent of COPD's global economic burden, the study said that the figure is likely to rise if tobacco companies grow unregulated in emerging markets, more people are exposed to air pollution due to urbanisation and the epidemiological transition from infectious diseases to non-communicable ones progresses with enhanced life expectancy.
Lack of information of COPD's global economic burden could possibly contribute to the insufficient attention given to this chronic condition by governments and policy makers, the study said.
Particularly in LMICs, it said, few health policies are proposed directly aimed at preventing COPD, with limited access to diagnostics and the availability of little effective therapy.
Early COPD-screening and identification can prevent disease progression and reduce health and economic burdens, the study said.
Research into cost-effective interventions such as community-based COPD screening is needed, as their effectiveness remains unexplored in some countries despite such programmes showing promising results with low costs. Evidence of effectiveness of such interventions could also help reduce COPD morbidity and mortality rate going forward, the study said.
The study stressed the urgent need to invest in global efforts to curb COPD and its associated health and economic burdens.