Using data from 2006-2018 across 26 high-income countries, Lichtenberg et al. (2022) Measures the relationship between pharmaceutical innovation and longevity. Innovation is measured by the “average… of drugs used to treat every disease in every country” where booze is defined as the year of release worldwide. For the United States, the authors found:
…diseases for which there have been larger increases in the effect of drugs tend to increase the longevity of Americans of all races and of both sexes. In other words, the lower the average lifespan of drugs, the higher the median age at death…We estimate that the 2006-2018 increase in drug alcoholism increased the median age at death of Americans by about 6 months (66% of those who They have been observed (increased).
Interestingly, the effect is mostly concentrated among the most educated individuals. Lichtenberg claims that this is likely because individuals with higher incomes are more likely to use new drugs. The study also examined data for 26 high-income countries and found that:
It is estimated that the increase in drug use increased life expectancy at death in 26 countries by 1.23 years between 2006 and 2016 – 73% of the observed increase.
Not only that, but the longevity gains have been made in a very cost effective manner.
The estimated cost per year of life gained for the United States and the 26 countries is $35,817 and $13,904, respectively. Both figures are well below the per capita GDP of the respective regions, indicating that pharmaceutical innovation in general has been very cost-effective.