Pharmaceutical Innovation, Mortality Reduction, and Economic Growth

Edited by Frank R. Lichtenberg

in Measuring the Gains from Medical Research

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print April 2003 | ISBN: 9780226551784
Published online February 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226551791 | DOI:
Pharmaceutical Innovation, Mortality Reduction, and Economic Growth

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This chapter examines the effects of new pharmaceutical introductions on a direct measure of health: life years saved. It reviews some of the previous evidence on the impact of drugs on life expectancy, including anecdotal evidence, a case study of a specific disease (heart attacks), and data from a few clinical studies of specific drugs. The analysis reveals that the typical new drug approved in the period 1970–91 saves over 11,000 life-years annually. The chapter concludes that the estimated benefits of new drugs have vastly outweighed their costs of development.

Keywords: pharmaceutical introductions; new drugs; life expectancy; heart attacks; clinical studies

Chapter.  13268 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Econometrics and Mathematical Economics

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