David Brennan
Pharmaceutical executive

David Brennan

David Brennan is the chief executive officer of the pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca.

Good Health Is Priceless

The long term economic challenges we face cannot be completely fixed without also addressing health-care costs that could threaten to undermine the financial soundness of the nation for years to come.

As our nation's leaders tackle complex health legislation, they would do well to consider three areas of investment that both save dollars and make sense:

First, we must increase efforts to manage and prevent the chronic diseases that currently claim up to 75 cents of every health-care dollar spent in the United States. Improvements in prevention and early detection could reduce costs of chronic disease by $1.1 trillion in 2023: $905 billion from gains in productivity and $218 billion from avoided treatment expenditures.

Second, an investment in health information technology would assist doctors in curbing patients' failure to take their medicines as prescribed -- a major public health issue estimated to cost the U.S. economy $100 billion a year. The failure to take a medicine as prescribed can lead to unnecessary disease progression, disease complications, reduced functional abilities, a lower quality of life and even premature death.

Third, health legislation must recognize the role of prescription medicines in helping people lead healthier lives and preventing more serious future health problems that would create an even greater financial burden on patients and their families. Studies show that newer medicines reduce hospital and other non-drug costs. For each additional dollar spent on newer pharmaceuticals, more than $6 is saved in total health-care spending. And more than four of those dollars come from savings in spending on hospital stays.

A focus on disease prevention and management, improved technologies and innovative medicines will improve health outcomes and lessen existing health system strains on our economy. One estimate found that reducing cancer death rates by 10 percent alone would be worth roughly $4.4 trillion in economic value to current and future generations.

Saving money on health care is a timely and necessary priority. Yet budget forecasts and cost projections must not obscure the fact that good health is priceless.

By David Brennan  |  July 21, 2009; 4:01 PM ET  | Category:  Health costs , Prescriptions Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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These are good ideas. Why doesn't your company spend more money of research than on marketing? Why don't the big pharma companies pay their executives no more than 50 times what their average worker earns to have more money for innovation? Why do they shy away from basic research like stem cells and only invest in drugs other have discovered?

Posted by: lensch | July 24, 2009 2:23 PM
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These are good ideas. Why doesn't your company spend more money of research than on marketing? Why don't the big pharma companies pay their executives no more than 50 times what their average worker earns to have more money for innovation? Why do they shy away from basic research like stem cells and only invest in drugs other have discovered?

Posted by: lensch | July 24, 2009 2:20 PM
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