Health

The Office for National Statistics has, for the first time, included estimates of the impact of prostitution and illegal drugs in the national accounts. By the ONS’ reckoning they add about £10bn to the British economy.

Estimates of anything to do with the black economy are always going to be uncertain at best, but the statistics available are pretty interesting. Read more

By Andrew Jack and John Burn-Murdoch

The good news is that we are living longer. Among OECD nations, average life expectancy exceeded 80 years in 2011. There is a strong link to income but also to the structure of national health systems. The biggest outliers are Russia, Norway and the US, with below average life in relation to GDP per capita. Read more

By Andrew Jack

The global sales of prescription medicines is starting to accelerate and will reach $1 trillion next year, according to new estimates from IMS.

The data shows slowed growth since the 2008 financial crisis, when the loss of lucrative patents on drugs pushed down prices for drug companies just as the economic slowdown imposed austerity measures by governments and squeezed incomes by individuals paying out of pocket for healthcare. Read more