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Public Health (05-10-2005)

New study on health and the economy published

Is health good for the economy of the European Union? This key question is examined in a new report entitled ‘The contribution of health to the economy in the European Union’, based on a study financed by DG Health and Consumer Protection. The report will be presented, at the Gastein European Health Forum which takes place from 5-7 October.

The study reviews an extensive body of research and policy documents from high-income countries to seek an answer to its title question. Among the factors looked at in the report are:
  • Studies on the cost-of-illness;
  • The impact of health at the individual and household level on labour market outcomes, education and saving;
  • The impact of health on the level and the growth rate of national income;
  • The impact of health on the welfare system
Based on all the available evidence, the report concludes categorically that health is good for the economy in the European Union. It states that evidence to support this is particularly convincing at individual and household level.

A key message of the report is that better health can have a positive impact on various economic outcomes, and is not merely an automatic by-product of economic progress. As such the study suggests a critical implication for policymakers i.e. there is a powerful justification to invest in health as a means to improve economic outcomes.

“The contribution of health to the economy in the European Union” was written by Marc Suhrcke, Martin McKee, Regina Sauto-Arce, Svetla Tsolova and Jorgen Mortensen.