January 19, 2007 / 11:34 PM / 13 years ago

Americans think death "optional", says AstraZeneca CEO

David Brennan, Chief Executive Officer of AstraZeneca, talks during the Reuters Health Summit in New York November 8, 2006. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Americans have a unique sense of entitlement to healthcare not seen in the rest of the world, and regard dying as a choice, according to the chief executive of drug company AstraZeneca Plc (AZN.L).

“People want to have choice, they want to know what’s available, and if it’s good, they want to have it,” said David Brennan, the U.S.-born CEO of the UK-based drugmaker at the Reuters Health Summit in New York on Wednesday.

“Americans have a funny approach to this — we think death is optional,” joked Brennan.

“We treat an 87-year-old person with pancreatic cancer the same way we treat an 18-year-old with pancreatic cancer. That’s not the case outside this country. It’s very different,” said Brennan, who took over the helm at AstraZeneca at the beginning of this year.

“That’s an aspect of this market that’s very, very important that we need to maintain,” he said. “I think the system in the United States, having toured the world, is great.”

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