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Medicines needed for all people with asthma

Medicines needed for all people with asthma

WORLD ASTHMA DAY - Tuesday 6th May

Asthma causes disabling symptoms in millions of people who struggle to breathe, making ordinary activities extraordinarily difficult, such as going to school, working at a job, looking after children or aging parents, running or even walking. More than 334 million people in the world suffer from asthma and the number is increasing – asthma is the world’s neglected epidemic.

There are high costs for poorly controlled asthma such as the costs of acute treatment at the doctor or hospital, lost productivity of people with asthma or parents of children with asthma, and lost education for children who are too unwell to attend school. All these things amount to billions of dollars lost to society.

The economic burden of asthma costs to the New Zealand economy was last estimated in 1999 and found to total $825 million: $125 million direct costs and $700 million indirect costs.

Costs for those with the most severe disease were five times greater than those with mild asthma. New Zealand has no information on the costs of asthma by ethnicity or deprivation, and these are likely to be disproportionately distributed.

There is potential to reduce the costs of asthma through the implementation of initiatives that involve the greater availability and affordability of cost-effective medications proven to reduce morbidity and mortality.

High prescription costs may stop people getting the medicines they need. Optimal use of medications, especially by patients with poorly controlled asthma will enable people to adequately control their asthma, resulting in a significant reduction in the personal and economic burden of asthma in New Zealand.

The Global Asthma Network ( is working worldwide to reduce the burden of asthma through improving management, research, surveillance, and capacity building as well as global access to quality-assured essential asthma medicines.


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