The objective of medical care is to improve people's health. This includes avoiding illness whenever possible, alleviating suffering and disability when illness does occur, and prolonging life, particularly through the prevention of premature deaths.
These papers were presented to an Office of Health Economics meeting in London in October 1989. The programme for the meeting was put together by a group of international experts interested in the economics of the pharmaceutical industry, and hence it reflects developments in health economics across Europe.
This is an important paper based on original economic analyses of the new entrants to various pharmaceutical sub-markets. To use a sporting analogy, it indicates that the first one away from the starting line, or even the leader after the first lap, will not necessarily be the eventual winner of the race. Quite late entries in particular pharmacological sub-groups may turn out to be the most valuable and the most widely prescribed of all the alternatives eventually available.
These papers are a selection from those prepared for a seminar held jointly by the Department of Health and Social Security and the Office of Health Economics at theend of March 1987. The theme of that seminar was the cost and the benefit of pharmaceutical research. It was held as part of a vear of celebration to mark the Silver Jubilee of OHE.
The whole subject of medical innovation has been central to the development of the National Health Service not only over the past 25 years, but since its inception in 1948.
Half a century ago little attention was paid to the risks associated with medical and surgical treatment. The hazards of sickness itself were so obvious, that the considerable risks of medical intervention were more or less taken for granted.
In 1983 almost £6.6 billion was spent on research and development in the United Kingdom. This sum was five times that recorded in 1972 and even when account is taken of the high levels of inflation experienced over the period, this increase still represents real growth of 28 per cent. The resources channelled into research and development now account for 2.55 per cent of gross domestic product and are approximately equivalent to combined central and local government spending on housing or consumer expenditure on tobacco (1983 data).
Great Britain at the suggestion of and in close collaboration with Medizinisch Pharmazeutische Studiengesellschaft (MPS) in the Federal Republic of Germany, OHE is funded entirely by the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry and MPS by seven research-based companies in Germany. The Report describes the modern research-based pharmaceutical industry, with particular reference to its structure and activities in seven countries - the Federal Republic of Germany, France, Italy, Japan, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States.
Two years ago, the Office of Health Economics published a research paper describing some of the activities of eighteen European pharmaceutical companies in the Developing Countries in ·1979-80 (Worlock 1982). The same small study group which collected these data have now updated the information, providing statistics for 1981-82. The new study covers a slightly larger number of companies- 22 as against 18.