Tuesday, April 28, 2015

The Economic Burden of Non-Communicable Diseases

The global burden of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) is expected to increase in the coming decades as the total global population rises along with the proportion of the population in older age groups. The overall impact of chronic disease on population health in developing countries will be substantial, particularly for conditions such as hypertension and cardiovascular disease. Many low and middle income countries are in the midst of an epidemiological transition, with the dominant cause of mortality shifting from infectious disease to NCDs, and a rise in the average age at death. In some cases, urbanisation and rapid economic development have brought behavioural and lifestyle changes, leading to a rise in the prevalence of NCD risk factors such as smoking, poor diet, and sedentary lifestyles. Globally, NCDs are responsible for 66 percent of all mortality, and account for 54 percent of healthy life years lost, as measured by Disability-Adjusted Life Years (DALYs). 

There is a substantial amount of existing evidence on the impact of NCDs on individual wellbeing, however there is less evidence on the economic effect of chronic disease on society as a whole. NCDs can impact on growth in a number of ways, including through reduced reductions in effective labour supply (including productivity, early retirement, and morality), diversion of productive savings towards medical expenditure, and reduced government capacity to invest in infrastructure or education. 

In a recent report for the World Economic Forum (Economics of Non-Communicable Diseases in Indonesia, Bloom, D. E., Chen S., McGovern M., Prettner K., Candeias V., Bernaert A. and Cristin S., World Economic Forum, 2015), we estimate the economic burden of NCDs in Indonesia over the period 2012-2030 to be $ 4.47 trillion. 

Summaries of the report are available here:

Details of the methodology are provided in our earlier paper:

Bloom, David E., et al. "The macroeconomic impact of non-communicable diseases in China and India: Estimates, projections, and comparisons." The Journal of the Economics of Ageing 4 (2014): 100-111. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2212828X14000206
See also our non-technical summary:

Bloom, D.E., Cafiero-Fonseca, E.T., McGovern, M.E., Prettner, K. (2014): "China and India's Decent into Chronic Disease: Killing Themselves Slowly." The Milken Institute Review, Q2, 2014. http://assets1c.milkeninstitute.org/assets/Publication/MIReview/PDF/24-33MR62.pdf  

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