Research estimates global disease cost in the trillions

Tue, 20 Sep 2011
New research from the World Economic Forum (WEF) has estimated that global diseases, which kill about 36 million people each year, will cost health services up to USD47 trillion by 2030. With non-communicable chronic diseases such as cancer, heart disease, diabetes and chronic respiratory disease increasing in prevalence around the world, the cost of treatment has spiralled.

The research, on "The Global Economic Burden of Non-communicable Diseases", revealed that the main chronic diseases will cost USD47 trillion by the year 2030, with mental health illnesses accounting for USD16 trillion of that in costs and income lost.

Olivier Raynaud, senior director of health at the WEF, commented "Until now, we've been unable to put a figure on what the World Health Organisation calls the 'world's biggest killers'."

He added "The numbers indicate that non-communicable diseases have the potential to not only bankrupt health systems but to also put a brake on the global economy."

However, the World Health Organization (WHO) has also stated that it is possible for these diseases to be prevented and treated for just USD1.20 per person. Ala Alwan, assistant director-general for non-communicable diseases and mental health at the global organisation, said "Non-communicable diseases are the leading cause of death worldwide, killing ever more people each year. This study proves that there are affordable steps all governments can take to address non-communicable diseases."
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