Chart 2. Asthma Fatality Rates (Asthma deaths per 100,000 asthmatics; 5- to 34-year age group.) vs. World Health Organization Estimates
of Access to Essential Asthma Medications7
By the Numbers
In 2007, approximately 34.1 million Americans, 9 million of them
children, had been diagnosed with asthma.2 This number is increasing, especially among children under age 6. Experts estimate
that asthma causes 3,500-5,000 deaths annually in the United
States. In 2007, asthma was the root cause for approximately
217,000 emergency room visits and 10. 4 million visits to a physician. Its estimated cost to the U.S. economy is $19.7 billion. Worldwide, asthma is estimated to affect 300 million people. Asthma
shares a close link with allergies. It is estimated that 75 percent of
people with asthma also have allergies.
Globally, asthma is becoming more common in both children and
adults. 4 The increase in the prevalence of asthma has been associated
with an increase in atopic sensitization, and has a high correlation to
increases in other allergic disease states such as eczema and rhinitis. 5
Prevalence rates of asthma increase as communities become
urbanized and assume Western lifestyles. The number of asthma
cases in the urban segment of the world’s population is projected
to increase from 45 percent to 59 percent by 2025. This growth will
help drive a significant increase in the total number of global
asthma sufferers in the next fifteen years. By 2025, it is estimated
that there may be an additional 100 million people suffering from
asthma worldwide. 6
The key takeaway from Chart 2 is the low correlation between
fatalities from asthma and access to medications to treat asthma.
There is great opportunity for the medical device, diagnostics and
pharmaceutical industries to reduce morbidity and mortality in
this high prevalence and greatly underserved disease state. ;
1. Allergy 2004: 59: 469–478 The global burden of asthma: executive summary of the GINA Dissemination Committee Report
2. American Lung Association; www.lungusa.org
3. Allergy 2004: 59: 469–478 The global burden of asthma: executive summary of the GINA Dissemination Committee Report
4. Burney P. The changing prevalence of asthma? Thorax 2002; 57
(Suppl II): ii36–ii39.
5. International Study of Asthma and Allergies in Childhood
(ISAAC) Steering Committee. Worldwide variation in prevalence of
symptoms of asthma, allergic rhinoconjunctivitis, and atopic eczema:
ISAAC. Lancet 1998;351:1225–32.
6. Murray CJL, Lopez AD. Global mortality, disability, and the contribution of risk factors: Global Burden of Disease Study. Lancet 1997;
Maria Shepherd, founder of Data Decision Group, has 20 years of leadership experience in medical device/life-sciences marketing in small
startups and top-tier companies. The firm quantitatively and qualitatively sizes opportunities, evaluates new technologies, and assesses
prospective acquisitions. Shepherd can be reached at (617) 548-9892 or
at email@example.com or www.ddecisiongroup.com.