Characterization and burden of severe eosinophilic asthma in New Zealand: Results from the HealthStat Database

  • Sumitra Shantakumar Epidemiology and Health Economics, GlaxoSmithKline, Singapore.
  • Yu-Fan Ho Epidemiology and Health Economics, GlaxoSmithKline, Singapore.
  • Janine Beale Medical Affairs, GlaxoSmithKline, Auckland, New Zealand.
  • Barry Gribben | CBG Health Research, Auckland, New Zealand.


Background: This retrospective cohort study aimed to characterize epidemiology, medication use and healthcare resource utilization (HCRU) of patients diagnosed with severe eosinophilic asthma (SEA) compared to other patients with asthma in New Zealand.
Methods: Adult patients with asthma with no concurrent diagnosis of Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease (COPD) were identified from the HealthStat primary care database and the National Minimum Dataset using asthma diagnosis, hospital codes and prescriptions. Patients with SEA were identified using a 1-year baseline period (2011) and were those with: inhaled corticosteroid prescription above medium dose (including high dose) plus controller medication, ≥2 exacerbations, and eosinophils ≥300 cells/µl (or ≥150 in 6 weeks prior to index date); patients were followed for 1 year (2012).
Results: 160/3276 (4.9%) asthmatics with available eosinophil counts met SEA criteria. Patients with SEA were more likely to be Māori, former smokers, have more comorbidities, higher mean BMI and higher neutrophil counts compared with other patients with asthma. In the follow-up period, SEA patients had over 4 times as many exacerbations; incidence of exacerbations of the same frequency were highest in Māori patients.
Conclusions: Compared with other patients with asthma, SEA patients had over 1.5 times as many respiratory treatment prescriptions and higher all-cause HCRU and total healthcare costs; asthma-related healthcare costs were 3.6 times greater.



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Author Biographies

Sumitra Shantakumar, Epidemiology and Health Economics, GlaxoSmithKline

Dr. Sumitra Shantakumar (Epidemiology and Health Economics Head, GlaxoSmithKline - Greater China and Intercontinental Region) performs a cross-therapeutic role focused on the delivery of population-based disease epidemiology and burden evidence to inform late-stage clinical development programs, and medicines approaching registration, launch, reimbursement and lifecycle management. In addition to real-world evidence generation, Dr Shantakumar is actively engaged in advancing GSK’s access to high quality observational databases in Asia-Pacific through external engagement at the regional and local levels. Prior to her relocation to Singapore, Dr Shantakumar led the global epidemiology strategy for the anti-angiogenesis cancer therapy pazopanib, across multiple tumor types, and from early through late development stages.  Dr Shantakumar received her doctoral degree in Epidemiology from the Gillings School of Global Public Health, University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill, where she holds an adjunct appointment and was co-president of the UNC Epidemiology Alumni Association.  She also holds an adjunct appointment with the Center of Quantitative Medicine at Duke-NUS. She earned her master’s degree in Epidemiology from Boston University School of Public Health, and bachelor of science in Biology from UNC Chapel Hill.

Yu-Fan Ho, Epidemiology and Health Economics, GlaxoSmithKline

Mr. Yu-Fan Ho  is the Regional Health Outcomes Manager for GlaxoSmithKline under Department of Epidemoilogy and Health Economics for the Greater China and Intercontinental Region

Janine Beale, Medical Affairs, GlaxoSmithKline, Auckland

Dr. Janine Beale was the Respiratory Medical Affairs Manager within GlaxoSmithKline, Auckland - New Zealand at the time of study conduct. Her background is in immunology and respiratory research having undertaken a PhD at Imperial College London investigating the role of IL-25 in rhinovirus-induced asthma exacerbations funded by the National Health and Lung Institute.

Barry Gribben, CBG Health Research, Auckland

Dr. Barry Gribben (Director - Public Sector Surveying, CBH Health Research, Auckland, New Zealand) has been involved with primary health care and research for over 20 years. He was a south Auckland GP working in a busy multi-cultural practice for 15 years and Director of the RNZCGP Research Unit in Auckland University for 5 years. His research interests are in new methods for analysing large datasets and multilevel modelling in the health sector.

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Original Research Articles
Conflict of interest statement
SS and Y-FH are employees of GSK and hold stocks/shares in GSK, JB is an employee of GSK but does not hold stock/shares in GSK, BG is a shareholder in HealthStat Ltd. that received funding to conduct the study
Supporting Agencies
This study was sponsored by GSK (PRJ2407/208970)
Severe eosinophilic asthma, New Zealand, epidemiology, costs
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How to Cite
Shantakumar, S., Ho, Y.-F., Beale, J., & Gribben, B. (2020). Characterization and burden of severe eosinophilic asthma in New Zealand: Results from the HealthStat Database. Multidisciplinary Respiratory Medicine, 15.