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New PwC analysis: the £188bn cost of respiratory conditions and the economic potential of research

Investment into lung research is urgently needed to save and change lives. These life-limiting conditions are the third biggest killer in the UK and outcomes for conditions such as asthma and COPD are considerably worse in areas of high deprivation. But Asthma + Lung UK (A+LUK) can now reveal the huge financial cost of lung conditions to the UK economy.


Investing in Breath: the findings:


A+LUK's new report, Investing in breath, written with PwC and published on the 11th September 2023, shows how increased investment in lung research has the potential to drive growth, create jobs, and reduce the burden of ill health at a time when we need to support UK economic growth and keep the NHS fit for the future.


There is a huge economic case for investing in respiratory research. These studies have calculated that in 2019 respiratory conditions cost the UK economy £188 billion. This huge figure can be broken down into:


  • £9.6bn direct costs to the NHS

  • £4.2bn indirect costs associated with lost productivity

  • £174.4bn wider societal costs (i.e. the human cost of excess morbidity and mortality)


Despite this enormous burden, respiratory research has not been prioritised and receives only 2% of public investment. Asthma + Lung UK is calling on government to triple investment into respiratory research from £47 million to £141 million per year over the next five years.


Increasing respiratory research funding would enable game-changing research programmes but the benefits go far beyond health. Breakthroughs in diagnosis, prevention and care could reduce direct costs to the NHS and support growth and productivity. Overall, this new analysis suggests that increasing investment into respiratory research to £141 million per year could contribute £851 million to the economy by 2030.


In addition, tripling public investment into lung research would attract almost the same again in private and overseas investment into the UK life sciences sector, around £700 million over the next 7 years, supporting the government’s vision of transforming the UK into a Life Sciences Superpower.


What’s next?


Asthma + Lung UK have identified significant opportunities to create new cross-sector collaborations but doing so demands government to make a commitment to lung disease, especially in light of the respiratory mission that was promised as part of the Life Sciences Vision but has yet to make any progress. In this important year in the lead up to the general election, A+LUK will be lobbying government ministers, funders, researchers and innovators to encourage them to take urgent action to accelerate research and innovation into lung conditions.

BTS/BALR 2023 Lecture Award Winner

The BALR is delighted to announce that the BTS/BALR 2023 Lecture Award Winner is BALR member Dr Marko Nikolic, from the UCL Department of Respiratory Medicine.
This important award, launched earlier this year together with the BTS/Asthma + Lung UK (A+LUK) Lecture Award, recognises the achievements of established respiratory researchers and celebrates the work of applicants with an excellent track record of achievement and impact in respiratory research.

Marko Nikolic is a MRC Clinician Scientist Fellow at UCL Respiratory and Honorary Consultant in Respiratory Medicine, interested in developmental and stem cell biology in the context of lung regeneration, while also contributing to the Human Cell Atlas as a member of the HCA Lung Biological Network. He has recently also gained extensive experience in single cell biology including in COVID-19. He did his PhD and Clinical Lectureship with Emma Rawlins at the Gurdon Institute in Cambridge, before setting up his independent group at UCL in 2018 as a UKRI Innovation Rutherford Fellow linked to the UK Regenerative Medicine Platform. His current MRC Clinician Scientist fellowship aims to delineate late foetal lung and immune maturation. 

About the award, Marko said:
"I am delighted and very grateful to have been selected for this special award and would like to thank my group members, mentors and collaborators for all their help.

The BTS/A+LUK was awarded to Dr Hannah Durrington from the University of Manchester.
Dr Marko Nikolic and Dr Hannah Durrington will present their work at the 2023 BTS Winter Meeting on Wednesday 22nd November at 1pm, register here!

The BALR wish to congratulate both winners on this award and on their important work in the field of respiratory research.

















Dr Marko Nikolic

Marko picture 2.jpg

The BALR is now proudly affiliated with BMJ Open Respiratory Research! 

BMJ Open Respiratory Research is a peer-reviewed, open access journal publishing high quality papers across all areas of respiratory medicine, critical care and sleep medicine. The journal focuses on robustness of methodology and scientific rigour with less emphasis on novelty or perceived impact. It is indexed in PubMed Central, Scopus and Web of Science (Emerging Sources Citation Index).

BMJ Open Respiratory Research is the open access companion to Thorax and is co-owned by the British Thoracic Society and BMJ. The journal adheres to the highest possible industry standards concerning publication ethics. 

BALR members benefit from a discounted article publishing charge when submitting to the journal.

For more information on how to submit see

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