Friday, August 03, 2007

Sicko in Europe's Backwards Health Care System

We live in an age of unprecedented medical innovation. Unfortunately, most of today's cutting-edge research is conducted outside Europe, which was once a pioneer in this field. About 78% of global biotechnology research funds are spent in the U.S., compared to just 16% in Europe. Americans therefore have better access to modern drugs. One result is that in the U.S., the annual death rate from cancer is 196 per 100,000 people, compared to 235 in Britain, 244 in France, 270 in Italy and 273 in Germany (see chart above, click to enlarge).

It is both a tragedy and an embarrassment that Europe hasn't kept up with the U.S. in saving and improving lives. What's to blame? The Continent's misguided policies and state-run health-care systems.

It is time for politicians and regulators to confront our backward health-care systems and unleash the powers of medical research. Besides expanding drug budgets, European countries should work together to deregulate the pharmaceutical industry -- for instance, by speeding up the approval process for new drugs. The EU can better ensure that drug patents are adequately protected both in Europe and around the world against compulsory licensing and other infringements. Finally, we should give medical researchers tax incentives to slow the brain drain to the U.S. -- much like Ireland is attracting artists with favorable tax laws. We Europeans are getting older; we should be getting wiser, healthier and happier, too.

~From today's WSJ, "
Sicko in Europe" by Daniel Capezzone, president of the productivity committee of the Italian Chamber of Deputies


At 8/03/2007 10:28 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

wonder where Canada falls on that chart.

At 8/03/2007 2:21 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lower Annual rate does'nt equal cure as we all know there is no cure for any cancer. In USA cancer patient may survive extra 6 months longer, but at what cost? As there re no free lunches what re the tradeoffs and what re we not treating ex: 47+ millions lacking insurance. Also dont fotget we spend 2.2 Trillion on our health care(?)and per capita our spending is almost twice as any other country. Are'nt we 38 th or so any healt care stats?

At 8/03/2007 2:34 PM, Blogger RejpalCZ said...

Hello from Central Europe.

The author is definitelly right in many statements, but I see a big problem with his graph, that is really misleading --- I just hope, it's unintentional.

Cancer is strongly correlated with the age of a man - the older you are, the higher chance to have a cancer and therefore the higher chance to die from it.

I state median ages (CIA Factbook vs. your Annual death rate):
Germany 43,0 y. - 273
Italy 42,5 y. - 270
France 39,0 y. - 244
UK 39,6 y. - 235
USA 36,6 y. - 196

See the problem? You cannot compare annual death rate per 100,000 PEOPLE in countries, which population has different chances to have a cancer.

In case you want to compare them, you could probably use death rate per 1,000 PATIENTS to eliminate different chances, or to adjust the data for different age of population.

At 8/03/2007 7:30 PM, Blogger Frank said...

The article presents some very interesting data. On the other hand, some of the comments that were offered could provide some valid additional data that perhaps a WSJ staffer could weave into an interesting article.

At 8/04/2007 1:12 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The real problem is that in Italy the concept of standard of care simply does not exist. There are hospitals where the care is similar to the one of the USA (not many) and others where the level is the one of the third world. The training of physician is poor ( I graduated in surgery with only 9 procedure! Therefore I moved to the USA where I performed 1500 surgeries). Italians live longer because they work and eat less than american. Gregorio Maldini an Happy surgeon in Hawaii.

At 8/04/2007 8:47 AM, Blogger juandos said...

Golly gee! You just gotta love that whole socialized medicine scam: "The government has capped spending on pharmaceuticals at 13% of total health-care expenditures while letting expenses for infrastructure and staff skyrocket"...

Hmmm, does anyone else see the potential for the government to foist off even higher taxes onto its citizens here?

Then again we in this country have our own government run extortion scams that are still alive and well and may even see renaissance after the 2008 national elections...

At 8/05/2007 11:58 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Couldn't it just be that more Americans are dieing from heart desease then cancer? More Amercians are dieing from diebetes? Europieans are more likely to live long enough to die from cancer then Americans.

At 8/05/2007 5:59 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You have to take into account people who go undiagnosed, as a result of privatized health care.


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