Volume 11, Issue 5, September 2019
How many life-years have new drugs saved? A three-way fixed-effects analysis of 66 diseases in 27 countries, 2000–2013
Frank R Lichtenberg
International Health, Volume 11, Issue 5, September 2019, Pages 403–416, https://doi.org/10.1093/inthealth/ihz003
We analyzed the role that the launch of new drugs has played in reducing the number of years of life lost (YLL) before three different ages (85, 70 and 55 y) due to 66 diseases in 27 countries.
The estimates imply that, if no new drugs had been launched after 1981, YLL85 in 2013 would have been 2.16 times as high as it actually was. We estimated that pharmaceutical expenditure per life-year saved before age 85 y in 2013 by post-1981 drugs was $2837. This amount is about 8% of per capita GDP, indicating that post-1981 drugs launched were very cost-effective overall. But the fact that an intervention is cost-effective does not necessarily mean that it is ‘affordable.’