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OECD_logo_new.svgThe 2016 edition of the yearly “Health at a Glance Europe 2016” report includes for the first time a long section on COPD.


(image/logo source: OECD)

The European COPD Coalition welcomes the initiative from the OECD and the European Commission to share greater information on chronic respiratory diseases in this year’s Health at a Glance, and in particular on COPD*, reporting on mortality, COPD in primary and secondary care, prevalence and incidence, as well as on the major risk factors and determinants of health, for respiratory diseases, including air quality**.

ECC applauds the recommendations made in this report on the role of primary care for COPD treatment and management, and in particular in consideration of avoidable hospital admissions (page 128).

We regret however, that the methodology to collect the data presented in this report (patients self-report their disease, via interviews and surveys), does not allow to reflect the reality of COPD, as the OECD figures do not correspond to that presented in the vast majority of national and pan-European studies – all reporting much higher prevalence, incidence and mortality than what this report mentions. It is also regrettable that this document omits to present COPD as an important co-morbidity, as it would explain the relatively modest mortality rate. We also note that the chapter on Physical Activity focuses only on the matter as a risk factor (lack of physical activity), and does not mention its role as a means to improve ill-health, in the case, for instance of COPD (page 106).

We commend  however the authors statement on the discrepancy between what they present and commonly accepted figures in relation to COPD, because of the methodology adopted: “Self-reported data on asthma and COPD may be subject to under-diagnosis and reporting errors. An under-estimation of the real prevalence may particularly occur for COPD as studies in many countries report higher COPD prevalence than those based on self-report.”(page 82). It is important to note that the methodology for the data collection for the Health at a Glance report is a choice of  Member States.

*  Chapter 2: page 128, Strengthening primary care systems: Avoidable hospital admissions; page 60: Mortality from all causes; page 66: Mortality from respiratory diseases; Chapter 3, page 82: Health status, Asthma and COPD prevalence – for instance, but COPD is part of other chapters.

** Page 110, Chapter 4, Determinants of Health

More information.


November 23rd, 2016 | Published in chonic diseases, EU Healthcare,