HealthcarePapers 3(1) July 2002 : 63-69.doi:10.12927/hcpap..16912

Drugs, Health and the Economy: Investment, Innovation, Outcomes, Growth

Terrence Montague, Siobhan Cavanaugh, Kevin Skilton, Gregg Szabo, Jeff Sidel and Jean-Pierre Gregoire


Sustainability of the Canadian health system is currently foremost in the minds of many stakeholders. Historically, health expenditures have been viewed as ever increasing and with little visible economic return. Recently, economists have recognized the health arena as an important growth area within the total economy and have begun quantitative analyses of the impact of health investments as drivers of innovation and the general economic advance of nations. In particular, evidence has focused on the discovery and diffusion of new drugs as practical reflections of the quality ladder model of innovation, largely through their provision of improved duration and quality of life and accompanying productivity. The rate of return on innovative drug therapy within the universe of patients who could benefit is, however, impeded by under-prescription of, restricted access to, and/or impaired compliance with, newer efficacious drugs. The authors support further research to assist in future health policy decisions, including wider testing of the partnership/measurement model of disease management as a feasible tool to optimize the social rate of return on already-proven drug therapy. They further recommend these partnerships be designed with enough breadth of vision to facilitate their transition to operational projects compatible with evolving public health policies.



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