Health: Good healthcare at good prices


28/09/2010 - Health ministers and officials from some 35 countries will meet at OECD this week to share views on ways to balance their citizens’ right to the best possible healthcare with governments’ need to contain costs.


Discussions will focus on alternatives to the rising cost of brand prescription drugs, information technologies that improve patient care and reduce costs, encouraging healthy life-styles to ward-off expensive chronic disease, and the need for developed and developing countries to address the global shortage of healthcare workers.


Friday 8 October - A closing news conference will be held at 12:30-13:15 at OECD headquarters. Health ministers from Norway, Australia and Poland – Anne-Grete Strøm-Erichsen, Nicola Roxon, and Adam Fronczak – with OECD Deputy Secretary-General Aart de Geus, will outline the ministers’ responses to the budget/health dilemma.


Listen to the press conference via telephone line + 33 1 56 78 90 57

For this meeting, OECD is releasing two new reports.
Improving Value in Health Care: Measuring Quality

Poor quality healthcare makes many people sicker and kills thousands every year. For example:
• In Norway over 12% of hospitalised patients experience adverse events, 70% of which were preventable and over half of which lead to disability.
• In England better primary care could have avoided over 40%, or nearly 1.9 million hospital emergency admissions.

This report gives new evidence on patient safety across OECD countries (chart 1 below), and shows that large variations in quality of care remain for cancer (chart 2), stroke, heart attacks, and services provided by family doctors. It addresses the various ways countries can improve measuring quality; the need for a balance between privacy concerns and transparency on quality and safety; and how links can be made between quality indicators and  policies to improve the performance of physicians, hospitals and the health care system as a whole.




Download the underlying data


Value for Money in Health Spending

Rising health costs (chart 3), with more and better quality care are part of the reason for longer life expectancy.




But 21st century health systems must balance short-term needs to restrict spending with long-term reforms in how we structure and pay for health services.


Countries hardest hit by the financial crisis are trying to reduce the amount they spend on pharmaceuticals (Chart 4), turning to generic drugs to save money without affecting the quality of care. 


Download the underlying data


Quality vs quantity - health systems should reward doctors and hospitals who provide high-quality care rather than those that simply provide a lot of care, as is too often the case; promote better co-ordination of care; invest more in health ICTs; be more rational in deciding which new technologies to use; and ensure that ‘best practice’ is always followed, to avoid unjustifiable differences in the types of treatments given to patients.

For more details on the Forum and Ministerial meeting visit

» Key information about the Ministerial meeting

» Information for media, including news briefing schedule and how to get accreditation


To attend the news conference or the Forum, journalists are asked to contact


» Improving Value in Health Care, please contact
» Value for Money in Health Spending, please contact


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