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Healthcare – an investment for future economic growth

By Adrian Thomas

Implications and opportunities in multi-drug resistant tuberculosis

At Janssen, we believe that health is a powerful engine for social and economic growth.

As the world emerges from the global financial crisis, governments are trying to drive economic growth in the face of unprecedented constraints on public finances, ageing populations, and an increasing burden of disease and cost of healthcare.

The health and wealth of nations are inextricably linked. Better health for individuals leads to increased workforce productivity. And greater productivity will be a key driver of growth for G20 economies in the decades ahead.

G20 governments should acknowledge the need to invest in healthcare and address unmet health needs to boost economic prosperity. They must begin to view healthcare not as a driver of costs, but as an investment for future economic growth. Pledging resources to improve health outcomes today will help build the stronger communities and economies of tomorrow.

health-janssen-1Now is the time for action. Infectious diseases like tuberculosis (TB) are re-emerging in more aggressive forms. Today, there are an estimated 12 million people with TB worldwide1; more than 630,000 are living with multi-drug resistant (MDR) forms of TB2. Four G20 countries – China, India, the Russian Federation and South Africa – account for over 60% of the global MDR TB burden3. TB places a huge strain on health systems that could result in a loss of productivity equivalent to 4-7% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP)4. By 2015, approximately one million MDR-TB patients will need to be diagnosed and placed on treatment, exerting an even greater strain on economies5.

health-janssen-2Appropriately addressing TB is more than a clinical necessity: it is a smart investment. The United Nations High-Level Panel of Eminent Persons on the Post-2015 Development Agenda identified investment in TB diagnosis and treatment as highly cost-effective: generating $30 in improved health and increased productivity for every $1 spent6.

Nevertheless, TB has yet to feature prominently on the global agenda. Funding for R&D of new treatments for TB is far below the target defined by the Stop TB Partnership’s Global Plan to Stop TB 2011–20157,8.

Janssen is a leading player in the global fight against MDR-TB. Our passion for innovation and focus on unmet needs led us to discover an investigational drug which is the first medicine with a new way of combatting the TB bacteria in almost half a century9.

health-janssen-3Our commitment to health innovation extends beyond the drug discovery laboratory. We are creating new and sustainable ways to deliver our MDR-TB medicine cost-effectively to patients through novel access approaches and coordination with partners on funding and care management. Companies like Janssen have the tools and knowhow to respond to some of the world’s health challenges by developing new medicines that help people to live longer and more productive lives. But we can’t do it alone.

New financing mechanisms – developed in collaboration with public and private sector organisations – are needed to sustainably advance R&D for neglected diseases and to deliver medicines at prices that patients and health systems can afford.

Janssen is committed to working with governments, donors and multilateral organisations to secure increased investment in global public health. But progress will come only through renewed commitment and coordinated action across the G20 and beyond. The ‘Delhi Communique’ that emerged from the Second BRICS Health Ministers’ Meeting in New Delhi in January 2013 was an important step forward in international collaboration to tackle common health challenges10. It is now up to the G20 to continue and strengthen this commitment.

G20 governments have a critical role to play in freeing future generations from the burden of disease by refocusing policy priorities around healthcare and working with industry to discover, develop, and deliver new treatments and diagnostics. Policymakers should seize this opportunity – with sufficient funding and resources, we can accelerate the pace of economic recovery while improving the health and wellbeing of millions of people worldwide.

1   World Health Organisation. Global Tuberculosis Report 2012. Geneva: World Health Organisation. 2012. P. 16
2   WHO. Global Tuberculosis Report 2012. Geneva: World Health Organisation. 2012. P. 20
3   WHO. Global Tuberculosis Report 2012. Geneva: World Health Organisation. 2012. P. 35
4   TB Alliance. Economic Impact of TB. 2013. Accessed on 7 July 2013 from: http://www.tballiance.org/why/economic-impact.php.
5   WHO/Stop TB. The Global Plan to Stop TB 2011-1015. Geneva: World Health Organisation. 2011. P. viii.
6   United Nations. A New Global Partnership: Eradicate Poverty and Transform Economies Through Sustainable Development. 2013. P. 39
7   WHO/Stop TB. The Global Plan to Stop TB 2011-1015. Geneva: World Health Organisation. 2011. P. 13
8   Treatment Action Group. Report on Tuberculosis Research Funding Trends, 2005-2011. 2012. P. 1
9   Andries et al. A Diarylquinoline Drug Active on the ATP Synthase of Mycobacterium tuberculosis Science 14 January 2005: Vol. 307. no. 5707, pp. 223-227
10   Government of India. Delhi Communique. 12 January 2013. Accessed on 7 July 2013 from: http://pib.nic.in/newsite/erelease.aspx?relid=91533.

PHGB/NPR/0713/0013 August 2013

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