Insights, attitudes and perceptions about asthma and its treatment: Findings from a multinational survey of patients from 8 Asia-Pacific countries and Hong Kong


  • Conflict of interest statement: Merck Sharp & Dohme Corp. (MSD), a subsidiary of Merck & Co., Inc., funded the study. All authors received consultant fees from MSD, in conjunction with the development and execution of the Asia-Pacific AIM Survey. PJ Thompson, P Eng, J Lin, S Salvi and YJ Cho report no other potential conflicts of interest. R Abdul Manap has received speaker honoraria from GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) and AstraZeneca (AZ), has been a member of advisory boards for Nycomed-Takeda, AZ and Pfizer, and has received research funding from AZ, MSD, Almirall Laboratories and Cerexa Inc. W Boonsawat has received speaker's honoraria from AZ, GSK, MSD, Nycomed, Otsuka and Boehringer Ingelheim (BI). JC-M Ho has served as a member of advisory boards for BI, Eli Lilly and AZ, has received honoraria for lectures from Eli Lilly, Roche and AZ, and has received research funding from Roche. J-Y Hsu has received honoraria for being a speaker or a moderator from BI, Novartis, AZ, GSK and MSD, and has received funding for research from GSK. RA Faruqi, JE Fish and JJ Moreno-Cantu are employees of MSD and own stock in Merck & Co., Inc.
  • Associate Editor: Graham Hall

Correspondence: Professor Philip J. Thompson, Lung Institute of WA, Ground Floor E Block, Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital, Nedlands, WA 6009, Australia. Email:


Background and objective

The Asthma Insight and Management (AIM) survey was conducted in North America, Europe, the Asia-Pacific region and Latin America to characterize patients’ insights, attitudes and perceptions about their asthma and its treatment. We report findings from the Asia-Pacific survey.


Asthma patients (≥12 years) from Australia, China, Hong Kong, India, Malaysia, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan and Thailand were surveyed. Patients answered 53 questions exploring general health, diagnosis/history, symptoms, exacerbations, patient burden, disease management, medications/treatments and patient's attitudes. The Global Initiative for Asthma guidelines were used to assess asthma control. The survey was conducted by random digit telephone dialling (Australia, China and Hong Kong) or by random face-to-face interviews (India, Malaysia, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan and Thailand).


There were 80 761 households screened. Data from 3630 patients were collected. Wide disparity existed between objective measures of control and patient perception. Reported exacerbations during the previous year ranged from 19% (Hong Kong) to 67% (India). Reported unscheduled urgent/emergency visits to a doctor's office/hospital/clinic in the previous year ranged from 15% (Hong Kong) to 46% (Taiwan). Patients who reported having controlled asthma in the previous month ranged from 27% (South Korea) to 84% (Taiwan). Substantial functional and emotional limitations due to asthma were identified by 13% (South Korea) to 78% (India) of patients.


Asthma has a profound impact on patients’ well-being despite the availability of effective treatments and evidence-based management guidelines. Substantial differences across the surveyed countries exist, suggesting unmet, country-specific cultural and educational needs. A large proportion of asthma patients overestimate their level of control.