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Health at a Glance 2015

OECD Indicators

image of Health at a Glance 2015

This new edition of Health at a Glance presents the most recent comparable data on the performance of health systems in OECD countries. Where possible, it also reports data for partner countries (Brazil, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, India, Indonesia, Latvia, Lithuania, Russian Federation and South Africa). Compared with the previous edition, this new edition includes a new set of dashboards of health indicators to summarise in a clear and user-friendly way the relative strengths and weaknesses of OECD countries on different key indicators of health and health system performance, and also a special focus on the pharmaceutical sector. This edition also contains new indicators on health workforce migration and on the quality of health care.

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Pharmaceutical spending trends and future challenges

Across OECD countries, pharmaceutical spending reached around USD 800 billion in 2013, accounting for about 20% of total health spending on average when pharmaceutical consumption in hospital is added to the purchase of pharmaceutical drugs in the retail sector. This chapter looks at recent trends in pharmaceutical spending across OECD countries. It examines the drivers of recent spending trends, highlighting differences across therapeutic classes. It shows that while the consumption of medicines continues to increase and to push pharmaceutical spending up, cost-containment policies and patent expiries of a number of top-selling products have put downward pressure on pharmaceutical prices in recent years. This resulted in a slower pace of growth over the past decade. The chapter then looks at emerging challenges for policy makers in the management of pharmaceutical spending. The proliferation of high-cost specialty medicines will be a major driver of health spending growth in the coming years. While some of these medicines bring great benefits to patients, others provide only marginal improvements. This challenges the efficiency of pharmaceutical spending.

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