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The growing importance of pharmacoeconomics: the case of age-related macular degeneration
  1. A F Smith
  1. Correspondence to Andrew F Smith, Medmetrics Inc, 30 Charles Street, Ottawa, Ontario K1M 1R2, Canada; Andrew.Smith{at}Medmetricsinc.com

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A logical point of departure in any discussion of age-related macular degeneration (ARMD) is an examination of global ageing trends. Currently, the global population stands at around 6.9 billion, and this is expected to grow rapidly to 9.5 billion by 2050, roughly a 1.4-fold increase in a 40-year time span.1 2 Moreover, the percentage of persons aged >60 years, particularly among high-income economies, will experience unparalleled growth. In 2000, for example, it was estimated that there were approximately 606 million people ≥60 years; however, by 2050, this figure will rise to nearly 2.4 billion, a nearly fourfold potential increase.1 2 Such underlying population trends will invariably place tremendous pressures on healthcare systems to provide safe, effective and affordable interventions for those persons with ARMD. In fact, using pooled data from a number of well-conducted population-based eye surveys in high-income countries, it is possible to examine the potential impact of such underlying population projections for the number of persons with potentially treatable neovascular ARMD (NV ARMD) globally.3 This is presented in table 1. As can be seen, the number of persons with NV ARMD aged ≥60 years will rise sharply over the course of the next 40 years, ranging from 23.47 million in 2010 to 80.44 million by 2050. On the obverse side of the coin is the question of who will pay to treat this expected swell in ARMD patients, given that the number of persons engaged in full-time employment whose tax dollars fund healthcare expenditures is likely to decline at the same time as the number of retirees is expected to rise dramatically. As such, the primary raison d'être of the pharmacoeconomics approach lies in being …

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