Social and economic consequences of chronic diseases

David Stuckler and Marc Suhrcke

in Sick Societies

Published in print October 2011 | ISBN: 9780199574407
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191731204 | DOI:
Social and economic consequences of chronic diseases

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This chapter details how economic perspectives can enlighten us on how best to respond to chronic diseases. It shows that such economic tools are powerful, but they have ethical, policy, and technical limitations. The chapter begins by setting out the meaning of ‘economic perspective’ and addressing its important drawbacks. It then discusses four key questions: What are the social and economic costs of chronic disease? Who carries the burden of these costs? How do we measure them? Can these social harms caused by chronic diseases be avoided at low cost? In considering the final question, it assesses whether in a ‘no-change’ scenario the harm caused by chronic diseases can be expected to ‘take care of itself’ through market forces, evaluating the economic case for government support of broader public health interventions.

Keywords: economic perspectives; chronic disease; social cost; economic costs; no-change scenario; public health; health policy

Chapter.  13162 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Public Health and Epidemiology

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