Fact of the Week: Pharmaceutical Innovation Accounted for 73 Percent of the Increase in Life Expectancy in 30 Developing and Developed Countries From 2000 to 2009

May 30, 2017

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Pharmaceutical innovation has been a major factor in increasing life expectancies since the turn of the 21st century. Indeed, from 2000 to 2009, the average life expectancy increased by 1.73 years across a sample of 30 developed and developing countries—and access to new pharmaceutical products explains 73 percent of the improvement.

Professor Frank Lichtenberg uncovered this insight by analyzing data that captured the launch years for more than 89,000 pharmaceutical products plus various other economic indicators of health. While pharmaceutical innovation positively impacts both developed and developing nations, Lichtenberg found that is especially true for the life expectancies of those in developed nations.