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Articles

The impact of access to prescription drugs on disability in eleven European countries

Lichtenberg, Frank R.

Background
Clinical studies have shown that the use of certain drugs can reduce disability. Access to prescription drugs varies across countries. Even when the total number of drugs launched in two countries is similar, the specific drugs that were launched, and the diseases those drugs are used to treat, may differ.

Objective/Hypothesis
We test the hypothesis that the larger the relative number of drugs for a disease that were launched during 1982–2015 in a country, the lower the relative disability in 2015 of patients with that disease in that country, controlling for the average level of disability in that country and from that disease, and the number of patients with the disease and their mean age.

Methods
We estimate two-way (by country and disease) fixed-effects models of several measures of disability for 31 diseases in eleven European countries using data from the Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe and from other sources.

Results
The estimates imply that drug launches during 1982–2015 reduced the probability of severe limitation in 2015 by 4.9 percentage points, from 21.8% to 16.9%; they reduced the probability of any limitation by 7.7 percentage points, from 61.1% to 53.4%; and they reduced the mean number of Activities of Daily Living limitations by about 29%. Drug launches also yielded a small increase in an index of quality of life and well-being.

Conclusions
In general, the larger the number of drugs for a disease that were launched during 1982–2015 in a country, the lower the average disability in 2015 of patients with that disease in that country, controlling for the average level of disability in that country and from that disease, and the number of patients with the disease and their mean age.

Geographic Areas

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Also Published In

Title
Disability and Health Journal
DOI
https://doi.org/10.1016/j.dhjo.2019.01.003

More About This Work

Academic Units
Business
Published Here
April 5, 2019
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