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The value of medical and pharmaceutical interventions for reducing obesity

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  • Michaud, Pierre-Carl
  • Goldman, Dana P.
  • Lakdawalla, Darius N.
  • Zheng, Yuhui
  • Gailey, Adam H.

Abstract

This paper attempts to quantify the social, private, and public-finance values of reducing obesity through pharmaceutical and medical interventions. We find that the total social value of bariatric surgery is large for treated patients, with incremental social cost-effectiveness ratios typically under $10,000 per life-year saved. On the other hand, pharmaceutical interventions against obesity yield much less social value with incremental social cost-effectiveness ratios around $50,000. Our approach accounts for: competing risks to life expectancy; health care costs; and a variety of non-medical economic consequences (pensions, disability insurance, taxes, and earnings), which account for 20% of the total social cost of these treatments. On balance, bariatric surgery generates substantial private value for those treated, in the form of health and other economic consequences. The net public fiscal effects are modest, primarily because the size of the population eligible for treatment is small. The net social effect is large once improvements in life expectancy are taken into account.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Health Economics.

Volume (Year): 31 (2012)
Issue (Month): 4 ()
Pages: 630-643

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Handle: RePEc:eee:jhecon:v:31:y:2012:i:4:p:630-643

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Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/505560

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Keywords: Obesity; Health spending; Ageing; Microsimulation;

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  1. Lakdawalla, Darius & Philipson, Tomas, 2009. "The growth of obesity and technological change," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 7(3), pages 283-293, December.
  2. David M. Cutler & Edward L. Glaeser & Jesse M. Shapiro, 2003. "Why Have Americans Become More Obese?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 17(3), pages 93-118, Summer.
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  10. Garber, Alan M. & Phelps, Charles E., 1997. "Economic foundations of cost-effectiveness analysis," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 16(1), pages 1-31, February.
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  13. Feldstein, Martin, 2008. "Effects of Taxes on Economic Behavior," Scholarly Articles 2943922, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  14. Goldman, Dana & Michaud, Pierre-Carl & Lakdawalla, Darius & Zheng, Yuhui & Gailey, Adam & Vaynman, Igor, 2010. "The Fiscal Consequences Of Trends In Population Health," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 63(2), pages 307-30, June.
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  17. repec:reg:rpubli:282 is not listed on IDEAS
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