Matters of Scale - Viagra, Malaria, and the Future of Health Care

Number of years the average U.S. life expectancy would increase if all cancers could be eradicated overnight, according to estimates by Beverly Winikoff, a physician at Rockefeller University
2 years
Number of years the average life expectancy would increase, according to Winikoff, if good nutrition, exercise, and good health habits (such as not smoking) were followed
7 years
Estimated number of adult deaths worldwide attributed to tobacco in 1990
1 in 12
Projected number of adult deaths worldwide expected to be caused by tobacco in 2020 (70 percent of them in developing countries)
1 in 7
Global expenditures in 1995 on military protection of national borders and interests, conflicts over which have caused more than 23 million war-related civilian and military deaths since 1945
$864 billion
Global expenditures in 1995 on prevention and control of AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria, which together have killed 150 million people since 1945
$15 billion
Number of new medical drugs, which are increasingly targeting diseases of affluence and overconsumption in industrial countries, developed between 1975 and 1997
Number of those new drugs that aim to treat malaria, schistosomiasis, and other "tropical diseases" that are significant killers in developing countries
Amount the World Health Organization estimates it would cost to reduce by half the 1.1 million annual deaths caused by malaria
$1 billion
Estimated amount the Pfizer drug company made from 1999 sales of its anti-impotence pill Viagra
$1 billion
Sources: Robert Ornstein and Paul Ehrlich, New World, New Mind (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1989), page 121. World Health Organization (WHO), The World Health Report 1999 (Geneva, Switzerland: WHO, 1999), pages xii and xiii. WHO, Removing Obstacles to Healthy Development: Report on Infectious Diseases (Geneva, Switzerland: WHO, 1999), page 28. Bernard Pecoul, et al. “Access to Essential Drugs in Poor Countries,” Journal of the American Medical Association, Vol. 281 No. 4, 27 January 1999. <jama.ama-assn. org>. Noelle Knox, “Pfizer Touts Its Own,” Associated Press, from on-line periodical: <>, 11 November 1999.