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Preexisting Conditions Rise in U.S., Patient Care Remains Inconsistent Globally, New Health Report Finds

Oct 4, 2017

Kantar Health's Global Health and Wellness Report Offers Unique, Patient-Centric View of the True Impact of Almost 200 Health Conditions

NEW YORK, October 4, 2017 – A new global healthcare report finds that an astonishing 62.5 percent of U.S. adults have been diagnosed with a condition that could be termed "preexisting" for future health services.* The report also reveals that healthcare spending and longevity do not go hand in hand, as the United States ranks first in healthcare spending but seventh in longevity, while Japan and Spain rank first and second in longevity but fourth and eighth in healthcare spending. The findings are part of the 2017 edition of The Global Health and Wellness Report (GHWR), a comprehensive, patient-centric examination of global healthcare conducted by Kantar Health, a global leader in healthcare market research and consulting.

"The GHWR represents the patient's voice and offers an unfettered, patient-centric view of the true impact of almost 200 health conditions," said Michael Fronstin, General Manager of Health Outcomes, Forecasting and Epidemiology, Kantar Health. "While the 2017 report indicates that progress has been made in patient care, there’s more work to be done to improve the lives of people suffering with various conditions, as across geographies the rates of diagnosis and treatment vary widely and demonstrate much room for improvement."

Key Global Findings

Published yearly since 2008, Kantar Health's GHWR provides incomparable patient insights on the most pressing health issues of today for the United States, Japan, the EU5 (France, Germany, Italy, Spain and U.K.), and key Emerging Markets Brazil, China and Russia.

  • Across most conditions, the EU5 experiences the highest activity impairment.
  • Japan has lower Rx treatment rates across many conditions.
  • China respondents are the most willing to make lifestyle changes to avoid Rx use, while Japanese respondents are the least willing.
  • While the United States and Germany rank high in the percentage of their populations that exercise, they have the highest percentage of obesity.
  • China has higher treatment rates for some conditions, but that's mainly due to the fact that only those with severe disease are seeking a healthcare professional.
  • At 26 percent, the United States ranked first for adults diagnosed with a psychiatric condition. In contrast, China and Japan had just seven and six percent of their adult populations diagnosed with a psychiatric condition.

Key U.S. Findings
While U.S. healthcare reform remains in limbo, the manner in which pre-existing conditions will ultimately be dealt with is a key concern for many Americans. The GHWR finds that 152 million Americans (62.5 percent of U.S. adults) have now been diagnosed with a condition that could be termed "preexisting" for future health services. Furthermore, to combat the sometimes high-costs of treatment, 41 percent of U.S. adults diagnosed with a pre-existing condition report using a cost savings strategy – such as cutting tablets in half, taking less medicine than prescribed, buying fewer pills or buying them less often than directed – to offset the costs of prescription medicines. The report also confirms that the United States has the largest obese population at 31.5 percent of adults, which is certainly a key factor for the United States having the highest rates of metabolic diseases such as high cholesterol, hypertension, obesity, thyroid condition, and type 2 diabetes. Finally, the United States has the highest level of strong opioid use, which has led to significant and growing addiction issues, including injecting opioids.

  • One-third of Americans prefer to treat themselves with an OTC medicine rather than depending on a doctor to prescribe a prescription medicine.
  • Only 23 percent of Americans have been diagnosed with pain conditions, yet pain meds remain among the highest prescribed class in the United States.
  • At 22 percent, Americans 18-34 report the highest amounts of work productivity loss due to impairment from health issues. This group should be the healthiest.
  • About half of Americans 65-plus do not exercise at all.
  • Only 14 percent of Americans 18-34 smoke, one of the lowest rates in decades.
  • 50 percent of Americans say they suffer from respiratory conditions such as asthma or COPD, but only 32 percent have been actually diagnosed with these conditions.

The EU5, Japan and the Emerging Markets
The GHWR finds that the EU5 is currently facing a variety of challenges given socialized medicine and its impact on the healthcare environment. As access and reimbursement remain a consistent focus for Health Technology Assessments (HTAs), payers and governments across Europe, the unintended consequence is an incremental burden placed on manufacturers and patients. While there are many similarities between Japan and the EU5, the largest difference is that Japan is transitioning to a full scale HTA and requiring effectiveness and economic information. Additionally, like the EU5, Japan is experiencing an aging population and an increase in national healthcare costs as a percentage of GDP. Finally, The Emerging Markets have their own challenges related to access and reimbursement. Quantifying the magnitude of disease within major cities versus rural areas remains a challenge, and access to quality healthcare is limited in various parts of Emerging Market countries.

"The GHWR provides unique value in understanding the magnitude of diseases and the impact on people living with them, both within and across countries," said Fronstin. "Undoubtedly there are areas to improve across the 10 countries evaluated, as levels of diagnosis remain low in some countries, untreated populations are high in others, and societal stigmas are preventing many sufferers from seeking medical care. However, these factors present opportunities to drive awareness in these undiagnosed and/or untreated populations – such as encouraging patients who are experiencing conditions to seek treatment and educating physicians about the unintended humanistic and economic consequences of not diagnosing or treating appropriately."

For a full copy of Kantar Health's GHWR, please visit

* Conditions include:  AIDS/HIV, Alcohol or drug abuse with recent treatment, Alzheimer’s/dementia, Arthritis, Cancer, Congestive heart failure, Coronary artery/heart disease/bypass surgery, Crohn’s disease, Diabetes, Epilepsy, Hemophilia, Hepatitis, Kidney disease/renal failure, Lupus, Mental disorders (including Anxiety, Bipolar Disorder, Depression, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Schizophrenia), Multiple sclerosis, Muscular dystrophy, Organ transplant, Parkinson’s disease, Sleep apnea, Stroke, Acid Reflux, Acne, Asthma, C-Section, Heart burn, High cholesterol, Hysterectomy, Migraines, Narcolepsy, Pacemaker, Ulcers.

About Kantar Health
Kantar Health is a leading global healthcare consulting firm and trusted advisor to many pharmaceutical, biotech, and medical device and diagnostic companies worldwide. It combines evidence-based research capabilities with deep scientific, therapeutic and clinical knowledge, commercial development know-how, and brand and marketing expertise to help clients evaluate opportunities, launch products and maintain brand and market leadership.

Kantar Health deeply understands the influence of patients, payers and physicians, especially as they relate to the performance and payment of medicines and the delivery of healthcare services. Its 600+ healthcare industry specialists work across the product lifecycle, from preclinical development to launch, acting as catalysts to successful decision-making in life sciences and helping clients prioritize their product development and portfolio activities, differentiate their brands and drive product success post-launch. For more information, please visit