November 27, 2014

Pharmacy screening may hold the key to better results for COPD patients

A recent UK study from the UK showed more than half the people who participated in a COPD in pharmacy screening activity were identified as being at higher risk of COPD. If implemented nationally in Australia, COPD Pharmacy Screening has the potential to produce significant benefits to patients and cost-saving to the health system.

The focus of the study was to pilot a community pharmacy COPD case finding service including estimating costs and effects. The researchers recruited 21 pharmacies that used validated tools and engaged participants during the pilot period of nine months. Participants were smokers and/or a regular purchaser of cough medicine. Following consent, they undertook a risk assessment and screening with a COPD screening device.

The outcomes led to discussions on lifestyle or both lifestyle discussions and a referral to a GP. Out of the 238 participants, 135 were identified with potentially undiagnosed COPD and 88 of these were smokers.

A net cost saving of £93,456 was estimated within the project with a total lifetime gain of 38.62 life years and 19.92 quality-adjusted life years. The researchers recommended that COPD in pharmacy screening be adopted nationally as a cost-effective initiative that had to potential to provide significant cost savings to the health system and benefits to the community.

Read the full study here.


Lung Foundation Australia has resources available to support establishing a COPD screening service in pharmacy.

Visit the Lung Foundation Australia website to download the position paper with evidence, results forms, instruction sheets, a free training video and information on how to obtain a COPD screening device.

For more information, phone free call Information and Support Centre 1800 654 301 or email