Despite remarkable progress in health status and life expectancy in OECD countries over the past decades, there remain large inequalities not only across countries, but also across population groups within each country. These inequalities in health status are linked to many factors, including differences in exposure to risk factors to health and in access to health care.
The OECD carries out work on health data and indicators to improve international comparisons and economic analyses of health systems.
The OECD Health Division is releasing a new series to highlight its work on health policies and data. A new graph will be available each month.
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In the past 30 years Korea has gone from having a limited medical infrastructure, fragmented financing and limited population coverage, to a health care system characterised by universal coverage, one of the highest life expectancies in the world while still having one of the lowest levels of health expenditure among OECD countries.
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Israel has built a universal health system at relatively low-cost. Health spending was 7.5% of GDP in 2013, below the OECD average of 8.9% although the health spending share of GDP has been increasing rapidly, particularly in recent years. Israel has developed a sophisticated programme to monitor quality of primary care.
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Norway has an impressive and comprehensive health system, but it is facing several challenges over the coming years. The shift in the need for care from an ageing population will weigh heavily on the Norwegian health care system, demanding for more skilled health care personnel as well as strengthening of community care.
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Between 2009 and 2013, public spending on health fell by EUR 5.2 billion – representing a 32% drop in real-terms. This reduction clearly represents a shock for the system to adsorb, even though it is clear that there were inefficiencies in the Greek system (for example, inappropriate prescribing, weak primary care, imbalances in the mix of health professionals).
This paper looks at recent trends in pharmaceutical spending across OECD countries. It examines the drivers of recent spending trends, highlighting differences across therapeutic classes, and then looks at emerging challenges for policy makers in the management of pharmaceutical spending.
The OECD Health Working Papers series is designed to make available to a wider readership health studies prepared for use within the OECD.
This new OECD series aims to highlight the latest data in selected countries, to explain their health care systems and to provide key information in a clear and concise way. Each country snapshot highlights the most pertinent issues, be it smoking, obesity, surgical interventions, consumption of antibiotics, physicians density, etc., with the help of key statistics and are followed by brief policy recommendations.