Medicines and Vaccines

Value of innovation

Evolution of the light bulb - from Thomas Edison to energy saving bulb

Value of Innovative Medicines

Our innovative medicines and vaccines offer huge social and economic value to society and no one can contest today that they are a key part of any modern health system.

The value our medicines and vaccines bring:

  • substantial social and economic contribution to society;
  • savings in the health system; and
  • new treatment options for a range of diseases.

Many more people are alive today and living longer due to new medicines and vaccines developed by our industry.

Many lower and middle-income countries are making important investment in developing their healthcare infrastructure as part of their commitment to achieving Universal Health Coverage. Increasing access to new medicines and vaccines can help sustain such investment by reducing the need for costly surgical interventions and hospitalization.

In many cases, the use of innovative medicines by health systems can pay for themselves several times over. One study found that a reduction in the age of drugs used reduces non-drug spending 7.2 times as much as it increases drug expediture, with most of the savings coming from reduced hospitalization and physician office-visit expenditures.

Vaccines, for instance, have proven to be one of the most effective preventative technologies in the fight against infectious diseases with an almost unparalleled impact on public health, saving the lives of over 2.5 million children each year. Estimates show that increasing access to six vaccines (including new vaccines for rotavirus and malaria) could save USD 6.2 billion in treatment costs globally . Increased productivity due to averted illness could gain the world an additional $145bn. The upfront cost of procuring vaccines is dwarfed by these benefits.

In addition to these economic benefits, the innovation we bring along has transformed the lives of millions of patients all over the world. For instance, improvements in existing cancer treatments have cut annual death rates by half in the United States. High cholesterol and other heart diseases, which required extensive treatment in the 1970s, can now be easily managed with oral therapy. Our industry has played a crucial role in researching and developing the medicines that have contributed to this.


What we do in our industry makes a difference for people all over the world. It is our intention everyone ultimately benefit from the discoveries in our laboratories and that together we solve and address some of these pressing health issues that we face everywhere.

USD 89

saved for every USD 24 spent in OECD countries

USD 6.2Bn

potential global savings if access for to six vaccines is increased at GAVI-eligible countries

50 %

reduction in the cancer death rates in the US due to new treatments

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