Much is heard of late about the high costs of chronic diseases like diabetes: chronic diseases are going to ‘break the bank’, impose tremendous costs on already struggling healthcare systems, and, very possibly, hinder growth in developing countries. Often, however, the suffering of people with chronic diseases seems to be lost in all the talk of money. In this article, David Stuckler discusses how economic arguments – beyond the strictly financial considerations – can help raise the profile among policy-makers of chronic disease prevention and control as a public health priority, and make intervention efforts more effective. The author uses simple examples to explain the economic causes and consequences of chronic diseases, and the case for intervention, and discusses the potential for economic perspectives to help build a stronger case for global action on chronic diseases.
chronic disease, non-communicable diseases, health economics