- Non-communicable diseases (NCDs) are the greatest cause of deaths and disability for humans. Usually slowly developing conditions such as heart disease, cancer, asthma, diabetes and depression, some are preventable and others amenable to cost-effective treatment.
- Cumulative losses in global economic output due to NCDs will total $47 trillion, or 5% of GDP, by 2030. Modest investments to prevent and treat NCDs could bring major economic returns and save tens of millions of lives.
- As populations urbanize and grow, tobacco and alcohol use, poor diet and inactive lives will drive up deaths globally by 17% in the next 10 years.
- A coherent response might prioritize tobacco control and child nutrition, focus innovation on efficient community-based models of care, and ensure access to basic off-patent medicines.
- Although the most effective interventions on tobacco, food and alcohol contain fiscal and regulatory threats for individual industries, these merit consideration given the positive economic effects for businesses in general.
- Sustainable, balanced economic policy can consider low rates of NCDs as a measure of success. Where the economic benefits outweigh the costs, civil society has a major role to play in harnessing an effective response to NCDs.