Back to Journals » International Journal of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease » Volume 12

Trend of cost and utilization of COPD medication in Korea

Authors Lee J, Lee JH, Kim J, Rhee CK

Received 6 September 2016

Accepted for publication 9 November 2016

Published 19 December 2016 Volume 2017:12 Pages 27—33


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewers approved by Professor Hsiao-Chi Chuang

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Richard Russell

Jongmin Lee,1 Jae Ha Lee,1 Jee-Ae Kim,2 Chin Kook Rhee1

1Division of Pulmonary, Allergy and Critical Care Medicine, Department of Internal Medicine, Seoul St Mary’s Hospital, College of Medicine, The Catholic University of Korea, Seoul, 2Pharmaceutical Policy Evaluation Research Team, Research Institution, Health Insurance Review and Assessment Service, Wonju-si, Republic of Korea

Background: There are only a few longitudinal studies regarding medical utilization and costs for patients with COPD. The purpose of this study was to analyze the trend of medical utilization and costs on a long-term basis.
Methods: Using the Korean Health Insurance Review and Assessment Service (HIRA) data from 2008 to 2013, COPD patients were identified. The trend of medical utilization and costs was also analyzed.
Results: The number of COPD patients increased by 13.9% from 2008 to 2013. During the same period, the cost of COPD medication increased by 78.2%. Methylxanthine and systemic beta agonists were most widely prescribed between 2008 and 2013. However, inhaled medications such as long-acting beta-2 agonist (LABA), long-acting muscarinic agonist, and inhaled corticosteroid plus LABA were dispensed to a relatively low proportion of patients with COPD. The number of patients who were prescribed inhaled medications increased gradually from 2008 to 2013, while the number of patients prescribed systemic beta agonist and methylxanthine has decreased since 2010.
Conclusion: This study shows that there is a large gap between the COPD guidelines and clinical practice in Korea. Training programs for primary care physicians on diagnosis and guideline-based treatment are needed to improve the management of COPD.

Keywords: pulmonary disease, chronic obstructive, drug prescriptions, medical utilization, medical cost

Creative Commons License This work is published and licensed by Dove Medical Press Limited. The full terms of this license are available at and incorporate the Creative Commons Attribution - Non Commercial (unported, v3.0) License. By accessing the work you hereby accept the Terms. Non-commercial uses of the work are permitted without any further permission from Dove Medical Press Limited, provided the work is properly attributed. For permission for commercial use of this work, please see paragraphs 4.2 and 5 of our Terms.

Download Article [PDF]  View Full Text [HTML][Machine readable]