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Emerging countries are developing 'western' diseases

A doctor (L) checks the blood sugar level of a passerby at a free blood sugar level check-up camp.

Jeremy Hobson: Today in New York, the United Nations will host its first high-level meetings on
diseases like diabetes and cancer. More people in emerging economies are developing these diseases.

And as Marketplace's Jennifer Collins reports, tackling them will cost the world billions.


Jennifer Collins: Miller Tabak health care strategist Les Funtleyder says people develop these diseases because they have more money to spend.

Les Funtleyder: One of the side effects, if you will, of a developing economy is the that the diseases are becoming more western.

Illnessness like Type 2 diabetes or heart disease. The World Health Organization says about $10 billion a year is needed for treatment.

Ala Alwan: The cost of investment is generally low.

Ala Alwan leads the effort at the W.H.O.

Alwan: It is low compared to the economic losses. It is low compared to the millions of premature deaths that could be avoided.

Major pharma companies like GlaxoSmithKline, Novo Nordisk and Sanofi Aventis will be at the U.N. meetings this week. Why? Les Funtleyer says people who have more money to spend on food also have more to spend on drugs.

Funtleyder: So now it's actually a growth market for pharma.

Which is attractive as growth in the U.S. pharmaceutical industry levels off.

I'm Jennifer Collins for Marketplace.

About the author

Jennifer Collins is a reporter for the Marketplace portfolio of programs. She is based in Los Angeles, where she covers media, retail, the entertainment industry and the West Coast.
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As a physician, Junnifer Collins got my attention with her article entitled Emerging countries are developing "western diseases". Collins' article talks about the World Health Organization meeting with Big Pharma to address the economic costs associated with the rise of obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and cancer, diseases which are widely attributed to the world wide spread to the westerh diet. It was suggested that the rise in these diseases is because people have more money to spend. The reverse logic is astonishing. One would expect the World Health Organization to take a proactive approach. That is, to promote a whole foods plant based diet, rather than try to involve Big Pharma to pharmacologically combat the effects of the western diet. Why not just recommend dumping the western diet? It appears to be working for Bill Clinton. examples. In my medical practice, I noticed that the only patients over the age of 50 who are not on any medications are those who eat a whole foods plant based diet. Oh, and another thing, The grain fed to all thoses animals we eat that comprise much of our diet, is more than enough to fee the worlds hungry.

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