Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Lifestyle Diseases 7: Drinking and Healthcare

I read these news today.


Toll of heavy drinking on U.S. economy rises: study

Published: Monday, 17 Oct 2011 | 5:39 PM ET
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Heavy drinking is costing the U.S. economy more than $200 billion a year, mostly in lost workplace productivity, a U.S. health agency said on Monday.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said on Monday that in 2006 the price tag for excessive drinking was an estimated $223.5 billion, nearly 21 percent higher than the $185 billion it cost in 1998, the last time a similar study was done.
Seventy two percent was due to lost productivity and the most of the cost was borne by the drinkers themselves in the form of lost income.
Health care outlays accounted for another 11 percent of the total economic cost of heavy drinking, the CDC said, followed by criminal justice expenses and motor vehicle crash costs caused by impaired drivers.
The CDC defines excessive drinking as, on average, more than one alcoholic beverage a day for women, and more than two a day for men.
But the agency said that nearly three-quarters of the costs were caused by binge drinking -- four or more drinks per occasion for by women or five or more for men....


CDC: Add $2 per drink for US excessive drinking
October 17, 2011|Mike StobbeAP Medical Writer
The toll of excessive drinking works out to about $2 per drink, in terms of medical expenses and other costs to society, according to a new federal research.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study calculated societal costs from binge and heavy drinking beyond what consumers pay at the bar or liquor store. It’s the first such federal estimate in more than a dozen years.

Long-term effects of alcohol
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedi
The long term effects of alcohol range from possible health benefits for low levels of alcohol consumption to severe detrimental effects in cases of chronic alcohol abuse. Although a strong correlation exists between high levels of alcohol consumption and an increased risk of developing alcoholismcardiovascular diseasemalabsorptionchronic pancreatitisalcoholic liver disease, and cancer, some studies also suggest a correlation between low to moderate amounts of alcohol consumption and decreased risks of stroke, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, osteoporosis, and perhaps an overall decreased mortality rate...
Such a huge amount of losses, economic and healthwise. Drinking, especially heavy drinking, is personal choice and decision, never a social one. If the consequences, short- and long-term, of heavy drinking is to be made social and collective, like bigger government responsibility in healthcare for lifestyle-related diseases, society can go bankrupt. 
That is why governments should step back on intervening and subsidizing lifestyle-related diseases. Personal choice on heavy drinking (and heavy smoking, heavy eating, sedentary lifestyle, etc.) should be coupled with personal responsibility in healthcare finance, not social responsibility. Otherwise, society will keep subsidizing personal irresponsibility. And those in various government bureaucracies, national and international (like the UN and WHO), will further exacerbate the fiscal problem with the  huge public finance required to sustain their various bureaucracies, travels and other perks.

Governments should also not intervene unnecessarily in the drug innovation sector, like issuing compulsory licensing (CL) or price control and related schemes, on new drugs that respond to lifestyle-related diseases. Like when there are new and more powerful drugs against liver cancer, pancreatic disorder and other diseases related to heavy drinking or heavy smoking and other vices.
See also 
Lifestyle Diseases 6: Personal Care against NCDs, October 14, 2011. 

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