NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

The Impact of New Drug Launches on Life-Years Lost in 2015 from 19 Types of Cancer in 36 Countries

Frank R. Lichtenberg

NBER Working Paper No. 24536
Issued in April 2018
NBER Program(s):Aging, Health Care, Productivity, Innovation, and Entrepreneurship

This study employs a two-way fixed effects research design to measure the mortality impact and cost-effectiveness of cancer drugs: it analyzes the correlation across 36 countries between relative mortality from 19 types of cancer in 2015 and the relative number of drugs previously launched in that country to treat that type of cancer, controlling for relative incidence.

One additional drug for a cancer site launched during 2006-2010 is estimated to have reduced the number of 2015 disability-adjusted life years (DALYs) lost due to cancer at that site by 5.8%. The estimated cost per life-year gained at all ages in 2015 from cancer drugs launched during 2006-2010 is $1635.

We estimate that drugs launched during the entire 1982-2010 period reduced the number of cancer DALYs lost in 2015 by about 23%. In the absence of new drug launches during 1982-2010, there would have been 26.3 million additional DALYs lost in 2015.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w24536

 
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