University of British Columbia Study Reveals Uncontrolled Asthma Could Cost U.S. Economy $963+ Billion Over Next 20 Years

Economic Cost of Asthma

The University of British Columbia reports on a recent study evidencing the enormous costs uncontrolled asthma may have in the United States when factoring in productivity losses.

The economic implications are staggering if the Vancouver researchers are even halfway correct, $963 billion over the next 20 years equals over $48 billion per year.  Moreover, the study reveals that Americans could lose more than 15 million years of health combined over the period. The results recently published in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, and also state-level projections, are available though an interactive web portal.

The Study Sources

15 million Americans with asthma are not controlling the symptoms.  Hence, the authors analyzed projections, prevalence of asthma and asthma control levels in teens and adults in all 50 states. They included data from the U.S. Census Bureau, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the U.S. National Health and Wellness Survey and the Global Burden of Disease study.

Staggering Implications

Moshen Sadatsafavi, professor of faculty of pharmaceutical sciences and study author reports “These staggering numbers are a wake-up call, not only in North America but in other economies where there may be less information on the impacts of asthma.” He continued, “While we cannot eliminate asthma from our communities, we need to ensure asthma patients receive the best care possible—to protect their quality of life and control the costs imposed on our health care systems.”


A long-term condition that inflames and narrows the airways in the lungs, asthma makes it difficult to breath for those afflicted. With proper management, it can be successfully controlled in most patients.  The researchers emphasize that current methods for controlling asthma are widely recognized to be safe and effective in the vast majority of cases.

Each day in America at least 10 die from Asthma.  Many deaths are avoidable. Social determinant of health variables impact asthma in the United States (e.g. ethnicity, economic levels, location, etc.).

Lead Research/Investigator

Moshen Sadatsafavi