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Selected research from leading health care experts whose findings have a direct bearing on public policies effecting medical progress. Research is chosen based on its quality and relevance by the Medical Progress Today editorial staff.

Selected Research

The Expanding Pharmaceutical War on Cancer
Frank R. Lichtenberg, NBER Working Paper No. w10328, 2-1-04

Proponents of market forces in health care argue that allowing the market to set prices for health care goods and services is the best way to encourage health care innovation. One measure of the resulting innovation is the number of drugs available for treating a given disease or medical condition. This study supports the market case for medical progress by analyzing America's "war on cancer", declared by President Richard Nixon in 1971. It finds that cancers for which the stock of drugs increased more rapidly - offering more treatment options for physicians and patients - tended to have greater increases in survival rates than other types of cancers for which drugs did not increase as rapidly. Overall, the increased inventory of drugs accounted for over 50 percent of the increase in survival rates in the first 6 years after a cancer diagnosis. On average, new cancer drugs increased life expectancy for cancer patients by about 1 year between 1975 and 1995, at a cost of about $3000 per patient - well below actuarial estimates of the value of a life year.


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