London [UK], Aug.29 : A University of Edinburgh study has said that the health service in the United Kingdom spends at least 1.1 billion pounds annually on asthma-related care.
The researchers found that at least three people die each day from asthma-related attacks. Experts say that the majority of asthma deaths are preventable and called for a greater focus on basic care to cut down on the rates of severe attacks.
Researchers used information from national health surveys and anonymised administrative, health and social care records to build a picture of asthma in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
The UK-wide team, led by the Asthma UK Centre for Applied Research at The University of Edinburgh, found that there were around 6.4 million general practitioner and nurse consultations for asthma each year.
It was found that over 270 people are admitted to hospital each day because of asthma attacks. Of the 1.1 billion pound cost of treating asthma, at least 666 million pounds is spent on prescription costs each year.
Other costs included 160 million pounds on GP consultations, 143 million pounds on disability claims and 137million pounds on hospital care.
Researchers say their figures are likely to be substantial underestimates because they did not take into account people for whom asthma was not their main illness.
They said their findings confirm that the UK has one of the highest burdens of asthma in the world. The study is published in BMC Medicine journal and was funded by Asthma UK, with additional funding from Edinburgh Clinical Trials Unit and The Farr Institute.