NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

The impact of new drug launches on longevity: evidence from longitudinal disease-level data from 52 countries, 1982-2001

Frank R. Lichtenberg

NBER Working Paper No. 9754
Issued in June 2003
NBER Program(s):   HE   PR

We perform an econometric analysis of the effect of new drug launches on longevity, using data from the IMS Health Drug Launches database and the WHO Mortality Database. Our data cover virtually all of the diseases borne by people in 52 countries during the period 1982-2001, and enable us to control, to an unusually great extent, for the effects of other potential determinants of longevity, e.g. education, income, nutrition, the environment, and lifestyle'. We find that launches of new chemical entities (NCEs) have a strong positive impact on the probability of survival. Launches of (older) drugs that are not NCEs do not increase longevity. NCE launches account for a significant fraction of the long-run increase in longevity in the sample as a whole. Between 1986 and 2000, average life expectancy of the entire population of sample countries increased by almost two years. Our estimates imply that NCE launches accounted for 0.8 years (40%) of the 1986-2000 increase in longevity. The average annual increase in life expectancy of the entire population resulting from NCE launches is .056 years, or 2.93 weeks.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w9754

Published: Frank Lichtenberg, 2005. "The Impact of New Drug Launches on Longevity: Evidence from Longitudinal, Disease-Level Data from 52 Countries, 1982–2001," International Journal of Health Care Finance and Economics, Springer, vol. 5(1), pages 47-73, January.

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