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Investing in cardiovascular research benefits economy

Investing in in Canada provides economic and societal benefits to Canadians, according to new research published in Open.

“Our main goal was to understand how much “bang” we were getting from our research “buck” and whether investing in research is worthwhile from a population health perspective,” writes Dr. Claire de Oliveira, scientist and health economist with the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH), Toronto, with coauthors.

Cardiovascular disease is the number one cause of hospitalization and death in Canada. For every $69 spent on cardiovascular health care in the country, $1 was spent on research through public and charitable sector funding.

“We found an internal rate of return of 20.6% for investment in cardiovascular disease research by the public and charitable sectors,” the authors write. “Thus, for every $1 spent on public or charitable sources, Canadians receive an income stream of about $0.21 per year in perpetuity. Considering a minimum acceptable rate of return of 12%, this investment is quite attractive.”

The internal rate of return is “the annual monetary benefit to the economy for each dollar invested in cardiovascular disease research.”

Spending on cardiovascular disease research in Canada has increased from roughly $13 million in 1975 to $41 million in 1990 and $96 million in 2005.

The authors hope this study will help funders determine the return on investment and whether they are spending appropriately.

“Our estimates provide evidence that investing in cardiovascular disease research is valuable and that investments in medical research are returned many times over in societal benefits,” conclude the authors.


Estimating the payoffs from cardiovascular disease research in Canada: an economic analysis

CMAJ Open – doi: 10.9778/cmajo.20130003

Authors: Claire de Oliveira, MA, PhD, Hai V. Nguyen, PhD, Harindra C. Wijeysundera, MD, PhD, William W.L. Wong, PhD, Gloria Woo, PhD, Paul Grootendorst, PhD, Peter P. Liu, MD, MSc, Murray D. Krahn, MD, MSc