Human Capital Index: APAC countries lead the way

In 2017, the World Bank announced the Human Capital Project, involving an index that would track the knowledge, skills and health that people accumulate throughout their lives, to enable comparison of this data across countries. The main idea behind the project is to end extreme poverty and prompt investment in people through nutrition, healthcare, quality education, jobs and skills. Last week, the World Bank published its latest report, involving Human Capital Index (HCI) data for 157 countries.

In terms of methodology, the HCI measures three components:

1. Child mortality (probability of survival to age 5)

2. Schooling, i.e. both quality of education (harmonised test scores) and quantity (expected years of school)

3. Health, via two proxies (healthy growth among children under 5, and adult survival rate)

Each of these measures is then tallied up, with a final index score of between 0 and 1 assigned to each country. Leading the way in 2018 are four Asia-Pacific countries with scores of 0.88 (Singapore), 0.84 (South Korea and Japan) and 0.82 (Hong Kong). Below we’ve created a graph of the Top 10 countries globally.

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Various smaller European countries, plus Australia and Canada, make up the rest of the Top 10. Germany (0.79) is just outside the Top 10, with the UK (0.78), Italy (0.77) and France (0.76) not far behind. Various major economies, including the USA (0.76), Russia (0.73), China (0.67), Brazil (0.56) and India (0.44), all rank outside the global Top 20.

For access to the full report and dataset, follow these links: PDF / website.

Less than a week to go until Nicholas Hall’s 5th Asia-Pacific Consumer Healthcare Conference, which will take place in Singapore! You can join Google, McCann Health and GSK, plus many more major players to discuss key issues surrounding the complex APAC landscape. You can view Nicholas’ opening session 09:00-10:00 Wednesday 17th October HERE. The Panel Discussion, “Is the Avalanche of Personal Data Helping or Hindering the Health of our Consumer?”, with Kantar Health, McCann Health, DevHub Startup & Incubation Centre, and BiblioSexual, will take place at 16:30-17:30 on Wednesday 17th HERE. For details of the full agenda, or to reserve your space and join us on 17-18 October, please contact elizabeth.bernos@NicholasHall.com without hesitation.

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New advice says eat 10 fruit & veg per day

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A study by Imperial College London has suggested we should eat 10 portions of fruit & vegetables a day. The study said that such eating habits could prevent 7.8 million premature deaths each year. The study also identified particular fruit & vegetables that reduced the risk of cancer and heart disease.

A portion counts as 80g (3oz) of fruit or vegetables, which is equal to a small banana, a pear, or three heaped tablespoons of spinach or peas. The findings were based on pooled data on 95 separate studies, involving the eating habits of two million people.

Lower risk of cancer was linked to eating green vegetables such as spinach and kale, yellow vegetables and cauliflower. Lower risk of heart disease and strokes was linked to eating apples, pears, citrus fruits and leafy greens.

The results, published in the International Journal of Epidemiology, also assessed the risk of dying before your time. Compared with eating no fruit or veg a day, it showed:

  • 200g cut the risk of cardiovascular disease by 13% while 800g cut the risk by 28%
  • 200g cut the risk of cancer by 4%, while 800g cut the risk by 13%
  • 200g cut the risk of a premature death by 15%, while 800g cut the risk by 31%

Fresh fruit stand with boysenberries, raspberries, cherries and grapes

The researchers do not know if eating even more fruit & vegetables than the newly suggested 10 portions would have even greater health benefits, as there is little evidence out there to review.

Dr Dagfinn Aune, one of the researchers, said: “Fruit & vegetables have been shown to reduce cholesterol levels, blood pressure and to boost the health of our blood vessels and immune system.” He continued: “This may be due to the complex network of nutrients they hold, including many antioxidants, which may reduce DNA damage and lead to a reduction in cancer risk.”

However the study also said that the benefits of this would be hard to integrate as many people struggle to even eat the five a day (400g) which is recommended by the World Health Organization. In the UK, only about one in three people eat this recommended portion, showing the huge potential for VMS marketers in terms of targeting their supplements at people that don’t eat their 10 fruit & veg a day.

OTCs in Action Episode 52: Japanese tax tweak to raise OTC spending

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This week, OTCs are in Action in Japan, where the government plans to reward self-medicating consumers with a tax deduction. Under current tax codes, Japanese consumers can deduct medical expenses over US$800 or so per year from taxable income, but OTC expenses are often not high enough to meet this threshold. A recently proposed tax incentive will require a minimum OTC expenditure of only about us$80 to qualify for the deduction – a benefit the government is hoping will nudge consumers with minor ailments away from expensive hospitals, and toward drugstores.

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According to Nikkei Asian Review: “The health ministry expects more than 10mn households to qualify for the deduction. If the break changes patient behaviour, the resulting drop in government medical spending could outweigh the expected tens of billions of yen in lost tax revenue. Reining in social insurance expenditures is also crucial to achieving the government’s goal of a primary surplus by fiscal 2020.”

Nichols Hall’s DB6 database shows that the US$7bn Japanese OTC market has been ailing with sales declines for the past several years – encouraging people to put OTCs in Action for financial rewards will be therapeutic for consumers, manufacturers and government.

 

 

OTCs in Action Episode 51: Home is where the hospital is

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My younger daughter had the best play hospital in the neighbourhood, thanks to the visiting nurses who came to care for my husband. They would leave her well supplied with extra gloves, gauze, IV tubes, an old stethoscope. I will be eternally grateful for these wonderful nurses who became our friends and took care of our whole family.

35.1 million patients are discharged from the hospital each year. 65% of those patients are discharged home.

Most importantly, the nurses taught the family how to care for Joe. I remember my horror when shown how to change surgical dressings and  give injections. My first thought: “Won’t you be here to do this everyday?” My second: “Oh, expletive, I have no medical experience and I am going to have to do this? Oh, and if I don’t do it right, the results could be disastrous….”

Nearly 46% of caregivers who provide complex chronic care perform medical and nursing tasks.

OTCs in Action this week are Cardinal Health’s new Hospital Quality at Home,  including products for advanced wound care, first aid, personal care and home healthcare. Although our family was kept well supplied by the wonderful nurses, I would occasionally need surgical wound care and other products from the drugstore – and it’s not exactly like choosing a Band-Aid for a scraped knee. As a hospital supplier, Cardinal Health’s brand name helps people know they are choosing the products that would be used in a clinical setting, making the care of a loved one a little less stressful.

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40mn Americans provide unpaid care to an adult. On average, they provide 62.2 hours of care weekly. In the next few decades, the demand for family caregivers is expected to rise by 85%.

For data sources and more about Cardinal Health, click on this link.

 

Scottish Independence: The Healthcare Aspect

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This week the people of Scotland will decide whether to end the country’s 300-year+ political union with England and the rest of the UK. As a Scot without a vote – owing to my residence in England – I’ve been watching from the sidelines while the debate has swirled around fundamental issues such as currency, the economy, EU membership and defence.

Healthcare – in particular, the NHS – has also been a key issue. This is despite the fact that, in the short-term at least, day-to-day healthcare provision will be unaffected, as the NHS and wider healthcare policy are already fully devolved to the Scottish Parliament. In addition, the Scottish Government intends to continue using the MHRA as medicines regulator, which should hopefully prevent a divergence in medicines regulation and access (imagine the absurdity of a medicine being deemed safe for OTC distribution in England but not Scotland …).

One can only guess how independence could affect health provision in Scotland in the long-term. Scotland currently enjoys higher NHS spending per head of population than England, while the Scottish Government has introduced flagship policies such as “free” prescriptions and personal care for the elderly (there’s nothing free about it of course, as patients pay for it through taxation), which it claims will be maintained if Scotland goes it alone. Opponents have questioned the affordability of such policies, casting doubt on the pro-independence camp’s estimates regarding the income it will receive through oil revenue and job creation.

What is clear, no matter which way the vote goes, is that Scotland will continue to face some strong public health challenges, with life expectancy remaining below that of the UK average for both men and women. For example, a report earlier in 2014 stated that Glasgow – Scotland’s largest city – has lower life expectancy than most of the developed world, with 25% of boys born there expected to die before the age of 65, owing mainly to poor lifestyle. Perhaps we’ll never find out how an independent Scotland would tackle these problems, but ultimately all that matters is that they are tackled.

Nicholas Hall Writes from Istanbul

NHPostcard.2014Nicholas Hall’s Postcard from Istanbul: I’m here to scout venues for a May 2014 OTC Action Workshop (make a note in your diary!). We are also working with Turkish pharma association AIFD to lobby the Ministry of Health to set up a fully-functioning OTC sector and, along with Network Partner, Tulay Izbul, I’ll be feeling the pulse of the market on this trip.

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