LONDON — Traditional medicines are more expensive than they are in developed countries, according to a new report that found the cost of traditional medicines could double over the next decade.
The report from the United Nations and the World Health Organization found that the cost to produce and distribute traditional medicines rose by 2.8 percent annually from 2010 to 2020, an increase that was mostly due to inflation.
It found that for every $1.60 in income earned, the average person in the world spent $0.92 in traditional medicine.
That’s up from $0 the previous year.
“The health consequences of rising costs are becoming more and more apparent, and the impact on health is profound,” said Dr. Andrew Mather, a health economist at the University of Sydney, in a statement.
The report said that by 2040, traditional medicines would cost around $5.8 trillion, an amount equivalent to about 40 percent of global GDP.
The WHO’s report found that traditional medicines account for about 15 percent of all prescriptions and would need to account for between 20 and 30 percent of healthcare spending in the developing world by the end of the decade.
It said that more than 70 percent of the world’s poor live in areas where traditional medicines are used, including China, India, Russia, Vietnam and Myanmar.
The health impacts of rising health care costs are real, said the WHO report, which also found that a third of people in developing countries rely on some kind of traditional medicine, such as tea, or a combination of traditional and complementary medicines, or that are prescribed only by a doctor.
The new report comes amid rising tensions over drug pricing.
A federal judge in San Francisco last month blocked the government from charging drugmakers and health care providers a “tariff” or surcharge on medicines they sell, saying that the move would create a massive tax.
The ruling prompted a backlash from drugmakers, including Pfizer, which said the order was unconstitutional and would harm its sales.
In the U.S., the Trump administration is moving to reinstate the death penalty, which it repealed in 2016.
In a speech on Monday, the president proposed that the death sentence be reinstated in states that refuse to accept it.