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30 May 2007
How much would you pay for an extra year of life?
This was the question posed by Dr Lisa Kennedy, Head of Health Economics at GE Healthcare, at a Science in Health public lecture in the School of Medicine.
Health spending currently tends to grow 2.5% faster than gross domestic product (GDP). If left unchecked, by 2050 healthcare could account for as much as 40% of GDP in the industrialised nations. The UK could spend £1 trillion on cardiovascular care alone over the next 30 years.
Dr Kennedy said the solution lay in investing more in health prevention and in earlier diagnosis and treatment. Treatment for early diagnosis breast cancer is £6-8,000, compared to up to £77,000 in later stages.
Dr Kennedy said: "Our investment is not working as hard as it should. Most of it is spent in the last few years of life. We need to find ways of investing our pounds to prevent the disease in the first place."
The Science in Health Public Lectures will resume with a lecture sponsored by the ABPI on October 18. Professor Sir Leszek Borysiewicz of Imperial College will speak at the Julian Hodge Lecture Theatre on Universities, the Pharmaceutical Industry and global health.
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