Chronic Diseases Largely Ignored by Policy Makers, Panel Says
Chronic diseases are being overlooked worldwide even though they kill more people than any other type of illness, according to a panel on Thursday at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, CQ HealthBeat reports. Chronic diseases -- which are noncommunicable illnesses such as heart disease, cancer and diabetes -- often go ignored because they are not as "dramatic" as infectious diseases such as HIV/AIDS or avian flu, according to panelist Olusoji Adeyi, coordinator of public health programs at the World Bank. According to WHO, more people die annually from cardiovascular disease than AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria combined. WHO estimates that chronic diseases account for 60% of global deaths and will account for about three-quarters of deaths by 2020. According to Rachel Nugent, director of health and economics at the Population Reference Bureau, many people hold the inaccurate view that chronic diseases mostly affect old and rich populations. About 50% of the people who die from chronic disease are younger than age 70, and 80% of chronic disease deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries, Nugent said. She called the current approach to treating such diseases "nonexistent to fragmented," adding that chronic diseases lead to increased medical costs and a dwindling workforce. Adeyi said "proactive and aggressive prevention efforts" paired with "preparation for the burden that is likely to come" should be used to combat chronic diseases. Adeyi added that while increasing rates of disease cannot be stopped, they can be slowed down, and people who already have such diseases can get necessary treatment. Nugent said tobacco taxes and healthy eating campaigns are examples of cost-effective prevention efforts. The panel called for more research and an open approach to chronic disease that encompasses an array of ailments and countries worldwide.
If you are interested in learning more about information discussed at the program, you can download an Mp3 of the panel's presentation here.
The Los Angeles Times says that the FDA plans to increase the speed of the process by which generic versions of prescription medications are approved:
FDA Creates Express Lane for Approving Some Generic Drugs
The Journal of the American Medical Association reports that doctors are heavily influenced by what they read in medical journals:
How Much Influence Do Medical Publications Have On Your Doctor? A Great Deal, Says New SLU Research
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