Health policies and data

Health Statistics


The OECD carries out work on health data and indicators to improve international comparisons and economic analyses of health systems.

OECD Health Statistics 2015

The main OECD Health database includes more than 1200 indicators covering all aspects of health systems for the 34 OECD member countries. Access free data series, briefing notes, and the full list of indicators in various languages. The full information on definitions, sources and methods is also available in one single user-friendly document.

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OECD Health Care Quality Indicators

The HCQI project compares the quality of health services in different countries. Access free data on the following topics: Health Promotion, Prevention and Primary Care, Mental Health Care and Cancer Care.

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Health Expenditure: A System of Health Accounts (SHA) 

Access the latest data and main comparative tables and charts on health expenditure.

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Health at a Glance

This series of key statistical publications provides the latest comparable data on different aspects of the performance of health systems in OECD countries.
The latest issues include Health at a Glance 2015: OECD IndicatorsHealth at a Glance: Europe 2014 and Health at a Glance: Asia/ Pacific 2014. Access the PDF versions or web books for those publications, and the full data sets through StatLinks, free of charge.

In addition, the OECD analyses health system performance through policy projects.



logo_new_els May 2016

Pharmaceutical spending has been increasing at a slower pace since the mid-2000s

Average annual growth in health and retail pharmaceutical expenditure, OECD average, 1990-2013


Prior to 2000, increased spending on retail pharmaceuticals acted a major contributor in driving up overall health expenditure and, as a consequence, the health sector share of GDP. Particularly during the 1990s and early 2000s, average real annual growth in pharmaceutical spending outpaced overall health spending growth - more than 5% on average each year between 1990 and 2004, compared with average health spending growth of less than 4% per year. However, during the 2000s there was a notable shift with a significant drop in average pharmaceutical growth during the second half of the decade which intensified through the global economic crisis.

Focusing on the most recent period, retail pharmaceutical spending across the OECD has, on average, grown more slowly than overall health spending. Over the period from 2005 to 2013, annual average growth in pharmaceutical expenditure was 0.7% on average (in real terms) compared with 2.4% for health care expenditure growth. Up until 2009, pharmaceutical spending growth was around 1½ percentage points lower than overall growth in health spending. From 2010, in the face of reduced spending in many OECD countries, pharmaceutical expenditure turned negative with an average 2.5% drop in 2012. By contrast, overall health spending saw a return to low positive growth after seeing near zero growth in 2010.

Note: Excludes Greece, Israel, Mexico, New Zealand, Turkey and United Kingdom.

Source: Belloni, A., D. Morgan and V. Paris (2016), “Pharmaceutical Expenditure And Policies: Past Trends And Future Challenges”, OECD Health Working Papers, No. 87, OECD Publishing, Paris. Data from OECD Health Statistics 2015.

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