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Blood pressure killing the world's workers while banks and drug firms stand idle
Date:5/2/2008

In a todays issue of The Lancet, international health experts call for urgent action from international development banks and pharmaceutical companies to stem the epidemic of blood pressure-related diseases affecting developing countries worldwide.

New findings reveal that each year 8 million people die from heart disease and stroke, the two leading blood pressure-related diseases. The majority of these deaths occur in the developing world where victims are often workers, whose deaths directly result in poverty for families and other dependents. According to the authors these deaths are largely avoidable, but no substantive effort to address this issue has been made by the international development banks or the major drug companies.

Author and Principal Director of The George Institute for International Health in Sydney, Professor Stephen MacMahon said today, Ten years ago, The Global Burden of Disease Project predicted this epidemic, yet none of the key players who determine priorities for international health investment have made any real effort to address the problem. As a consequence in the last decade, blood pressure related diseases have killed more than 50 million people, disabled many more and taken billions of dollars from the already fragile economies of the developing world.

Around $US50 billion is spent each year on blood pressure lowering drugs, more than 90% of which is spent in high income countries. Low- and middle-income regions suffer five times the burden of disease, but have access to less than 10% of the global treatment resource. These diseases affect people of working age in developing countries, and consequently they have major adverse consequences for economic development as well as well as health, said Professor MacMahon.

Stroke is already the most common cause of death and disability in Asia and is rapidly increasing in other developing regions including Africa. At risk people in these countries co
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Contact: Emma Orpilla
eorpilla@george.org.au
61-410-411-983
Research Australia
Source:Eurekalert

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