PHARMACY

Obesity threatens quality of life as smoking, research finds

BY Allison Cerra

NEW YORK Obesity rates continue to climb in the United States as smoking rates decline, according to an article published in the February issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

In the article, researchers from Columbia University and The City College of New York calculate that the quality-adjusted life years lost due to obesity is now equal to, if not greater than, those lost due to smoking — both modifiable risk factors.

QALYs use preference-based measurements of health-related quality of life, which allow a person to state a relative preference for a given health outcome. Since one person may value a particular outcome differently than another person, these measures capture how each respondent views his or her own quality of life.

The 1993-2008 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, the largest ongoing state-based health survey of U.S. adults, conducted interviews of more than 3.5 million individuals. This survey includes a set of questions that measures HRQOL, asking about recent poor health days and tracking overall physical and mental health of the population. The authors analyzed these data and converted the measures to QALYs lost due to smoking and obesity.

 

From 1993 to 2008, when the proportion of smokers among U.S. adults declined 18.5%, smoking-related QALYs lost were relatively stable at 0.0438 QALYs lost per population. During the same period, the proportion of obese people increased 85% and this resulted in 0.0464 QALYs lost. Smoking had a bigger impact on deaths while obesity had a bigger impact on illness.

“Although life expectancy and [quality-adjusted life expectancy] have increased over time, the increase in the contribution of mortality to QALYs lost from obesity may result in a decline in future life expectancy. Such data are essential in setting targets for reducing modifiable health risks and eliminating health disparities,” said investigators Haomiao Jia, Ph.D., and Erica I. Lubetkin, M.D., MPH.

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PHARMACY

Report: Cipla in generic drug supply talks with GSK, Teva

BY Allison Cerra

NEW YORK An India drug maker is in generic drug supply talks with two companies, according to reports.

Cipla said it is in talks with GlaxoSmithKline and Teva to supply the companies with generic drugs.

“It may be specifically for one or two products — it is not a down-the-line drug deal,” Cipla chairman Yusuf Hamied told Reuters.

Cipla is one of the world’s biggest producers of low-cost antiretroviral drugs to fight HIV and AIDS. Last month, the company announced the launch of a generic H1N1 treatment.

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Taro elects directors in shareholders meeting; Sun disapproves

BY Allison Cerra

HAWTHORNE, N.Y. An Israeli drug maker said that its shareholders voted to elect all of the directors who were up for election, with the exception of the statutory external directors, at its annual shareholders meeting held Dec. 31.

The shareholders also approved the ratification of indemnification for non-executive directors and the appointment of the Taro’s independent auditors.

The company said that it stands behind its nominees for statutory external directors and their qualifications, and further stated that it would continue its efforts to elect statutory external directors as required by Israeli law, despite the efforts of Sun Pharmaceutical Industries to block their election. Sun has claimed that Barrie Levitt, Taro’s chairman, signed contractual obligation to sell Taro’s shares to Sun at a pre-defined price in June 2008. Sun said, however, that Levitt and the company “have prevented the close of this transaction through improper use of Taro resources.”

Sun has sought to acquire Taro for some time. In August 2008, Sun’s tender offer to acquire the company expired, but said that it would once again seek to acquire Taro. In late September, Taro sued Sun in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, alleging that Sun failed to disclose information to Taro shareholders, and misappropriating confidential information about Taro as part of its efforts to acquire the company – which it has sought to do since June 2008 – and illegally using it to undermine Taro’s relationships with customers and revenues.

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