The Value of Discovery

A version of this post previously appeared on LillyPad.

It’s easy to get caught up in the daily grind of work, life, and everything in between.  But, every once in a while, something will stop me in my tracks. Today, it was this: in the past hundred years, Canadian life expectancy has increased from 53 to 80 years for females and 50 to 75 years for males. By 2031, average life expectancy in Canada is projected to rise to 81.9 for males and 86 for females.

While many factors have contributed to this dramatic increase, medical discovery has played a vital role. In fact, dozens of diseases that used to be deadly are now manageable all due in part to our industry’s work.

Ultimately, we cannot measure the true value of discovery in a single number, but we can begin to see a glimpse of it when we look at improvements to the overall health care system, society, and our lives. For example:

  • In a matter of decades, we’ve seen sizable reductions in death rates for many cancers, diabetes and multidrug-resistant tuberculosis.
  • New medicines have helped to improve individual health outcomes and reduce overall treatment costs by reducing or completely eliminating the need for more costly services, such as emergency room visits or lengthy hospitalization.
  • Most importantly, new treatments mean people can spend more time with their loved ones.

Throughout it all, we cannot forget that discovering and developing new medicines constitutes the tip of the iceberg.  An unflagging resolve and determination to create a healthier life for people, and families, around the world lies at the core of every new treatment. When it comes down to it, what better way could there be to measure our success?