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Pharmaceutical Innovation, Mortality Reduction, and Economic Growth

Pharmaceutical Innovation, Mortality Reduction, and Economic Growth

Chapter:
(p.74) Chapter Three Pharmaceutical Innovation, Mortality Reduction, and Economic Growth
Source:
Measuring the Gains from Medical Research
Author(s):
Frank R. Lichtenberg
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226551791.003.0004

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

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