An expert in econometrics at Columbia University discovered innovative medicines that increase your life with the use of New Drugs.

Life expectancy in Colombia has always been increasing. Only in the period between 1990 and 2015 this index increased 5.9 years, because at birth Colombians went from having a life expectancy of 68 years to 74.2 on average.

It has always been said that this increase has to do with social variables such as access to the necessary infrastructure to have good water supply and sewerage, but also because of the increase in per capita income and the level of education of the population. You might even think that this happens because people are happier and it is known that there is a correlation between happiness and well-being.

However, according to Frank Lichtenberg, professor of the business faculty of the University of Columbia, the one that has more impact of all is the pharmaceutical innovation, that is to say, the new medicines introduced to the country, have been made or not in the country.

His thesis is that the greater the relative number of drugs launched to treat a disease in a country, the greater the decline in the subsequent premature mortality for the disease in which such therapies were introduced.

To demonstrate this, he took the period between 2003 and 2015 and analyzed 39 diseases in eight Latin American countries, including Colombia, where there were 476 new drugs, which means that in these 33 years, 15 drugs were introduced per year. ” It is a figure similar to Chile and lower than that of Argentina but much higher than that of Venezuela, ” says the expert.

It was generally observed that the 10 percent increase in the number of drugs released resulted in a reduction of 3.9 in the number of years of potential life lost before 55 years.

It was also established that each decade of pharmaceutical innovation reduced the number of years of potential life lost before 70 years due to natural causes in more than 142 for 2013.

But looking in depth, it is observed that between the two countries with similar drug numbers, it is not always the same medicines and in the case of Chile and Colombia, there are differences for the 7 diseases that were studied. For example, in prostate cancer, there were three more drugs launched in Colombia than in Chile, but in others, such as breast cancer, there were more new drugs launched in Chile.

“My hypothesis was that there is essentially a large decline in mortality in Colombia for prostate cancer and a lower decline for breast cancer mortality,” explains the expert.
Although the study did not look at the quality of life due to lack of data, Lichtenberg has done this same type of work in Europe where he found that the larger the relative number of drugs for a particular disease in a country, the higher the quality of life of the patient with that disease.

Although many may argue that this is due to greater economic growth and higher income, which allows people to go to the doctor in time to receive the necessary care, Lichtenberg argues that the reason is biomedical innovation, but especially new drugs .

This hypothesis, however, has detractors, because many today consider that most new drugs are metoo , which should not be confused with the movement of sexually harassed women. They are called that because they have a chemical structure very similar to others that are already on the market and do not seem to be better than those that already exist. However, according to Lichtenberg, economic studies say something else. “There is a lot of literature that shows how, in general, new products are better than old ones. An iPad today is better than the first. The quality of air planes and automobiles is improved and this also applies to drugs, “he told

Many economists like him argue that economic growth has always been marked by the discovery of new ideas. ” We are better today than our ancestors because they have invented things. It is not to have more land but to discover new things and that is what promotes economic growth, “says the scientist. Although it is difficult to measure the production of ideas, in the pharmaceutical field it is possible because each drug is one.

With longevity the same thing happens.

In the United States the life expectancy in 1900 was 47 years and today is 78 years, which implies an increase of 30 years in a century.

Lichtenberg has shown studies that take into account specific diseases such as multiple myeloma, a type of cancer for which there was no new drug in 25 years, that is between 1973 and 1999. However, the appearance of five new innovative medicines marked a big difference since then.


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