William Harvey Medical Research Foundation  

Statistical Information

Assumes global drug market for anti-cancer therapies is 150% the size of the US market. Since US drug spending for cancer patients covers approximately one million patients, half of whom are saved, it is assumed that global drug spending for cancer patients covers 2.5 million patients, half of whom are saved. The rate shown, therefore, reflects 1.2 million lives saved per year thanks to cancer research. This does not include the much larger number of lives saved through research into the causes of cancer, and the subsequent adoption by the public of less carcinogenic activities and environments.

Assumes there are ten million people in the U.S. (and thirty million people worldwide) treated with anti-hypertensives, and for 33% of this population blood pressure is sufficiently well-controlled with the drugs that they are saved from a fatal heart attack or stroke at least once over a four year period. A much larger number of people are saved from significant morbidity (less-than-fatal illness) by the anti-hypertensives. Yet great numbers of people have been saved by following anti-hypertensive medical research findings that revealed the connection between lifestyle and cardiovascular disease. The William Harvey Research Institute’s Founder, Sir John Vane, was instrumental in developing the first widely distributed anti-hypertensive, Captopril.

Assumes sales of infectives are $9 billion annually in the US and $36 billion annually worldwide. Further assumes that one-third of spending on anti-infectives is for life-threatening conditions, i.e., but for the anti-infective therapy, the patient would die. Finally, it is assumed that the cost of a life-saving anti-infective treatment averages $1500. Based on these assumptions, approximately 2 million people would die in the US annually, and 8 million worldwide, but for the results of anti-infectives research that resulted in anti-infective drugs. These totals do not include the much larger saving of lives that has resulted from anti-infective research resulting in vaccines, public sanitation practices and medical antiseptic procedures. Many more lives would be saved if existing vaccines and anti-infectives were made available to the majority of the people in the world.

Smallpox killed 300 million people in the 20th century alone, before its eradication in the early 1970s. As recently as 1966 over 2 million people per year were dying of smallpox. Dividing the 300 million 20th century total by the first 70 years of the century, we obtain an average number of lives saved each year by smallpox vaccinations—approximately 4.2 million lives saved per year, or about one life every 8 seconds.

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