The influence of income on health

Does money really matter? Or is it a marker for something else?

 Income is related to health in three ways: through the gross national product of countries, the income of individuals, and the income inequalities among rich nations and among geographic areas. A central question is the degree to which these associations reflect a causal association. If so, redistribution of income would improve health.
Despite a pledge to cut the health gap between the richest and poorest, the difference in life expectancy is widening.
Reducing health inequalities and improving public health in the 21st century requires strategic investment in neo-material conditions via more equitable distribution of public and private resources.

Interest in health inequality among countries is growing. The World Health Organization (WHO),2–4 World Bank,5,6 Unicef,7,8 Pan American Health Organization, United Nations Development Programme,9–12 the UK Department of International Development13 and the broader global health community14–16 have made this issue a priority.

On 18 March 2005, the WHO Commission on Social Determinants of Health was formed and charged with identifying interventions and policies to reduce global health inequalities. However, the formulation of a global policy for closing the gap between industrialized and developing countries is hampered by the lack of a sound knowledge base. At least they made an attempt!

Life expectancy in the richest countries of the world now exceeds the poorest by more than 30 years, figures show. The gap is widening across the world, with Western countries and the growing economies of Latin America and the Far East advancing more rapidly than Africa and the countries of the former Soviet Union.

Over the last few years, opinions have shifted towards an increased concern for the health of the poor and for reduction in health inequalities. The contents of the technical papers demonstrate that a promising start has been made to understanding the extent and nature of the problem. This Critical Reflection contains two suggested initial steps for the action needed to alleviate the problem of health inequalities between the better off and the underprivileged. First, professionals giving high priority to the distinct but related objectives of poverty alleviation, inequality reduction, and equity enhancement should recognize that shared concern for the distributional aspects of health policy is far more important than any socioeconomic differences within the society. Second, health policy goals should be reformulated with greater attention to specific health problems of the poor, and towards reducing the differences between the rich and the poor.


* Reference

Rich countries refuses to allow their citizens  on Medicare to order the same drugs at lower costs from other countries, especially Canada and Europe, despite no evidence that those pharmaceuticals were any less safe than those sold in the United States. You still can order discount drugs online approved by FDA at


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