Growth in the cost of health care has put sustained downward pressure on wages and incomes

  • Rapid growth in the cost of U.S. health care has put sustained downward pressure on wages and incomes.
  • This rapid growth of spending has not purchased notably high-quality care, however.
  • U.S. spending on health care is higher than in peer countries, while quality is lower.
  • These high costs cannot be attributed to overuse of health care in America; instead, it is clear that the high price of health care is the culprit. Prices for pharmaceuticals, physician salaries, and medical procedures are almost uniformly higher in the U.S. than in peer countries—sometimes staggeringly so.

Source:Economic Policy Institute 

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Reducing the number of companies between a product and a consumer

  • Merck CEO Kenneth Frazier thinks something has to change within the pharmaceutical industry to fix the issue of drug pricing.
  • “I don’t understand where we live in a world where 50% of the value goes to the supply chain, ” Frazier said at an event at the Economic Club of New York last week.
  • Merck has published reports outlining the company’s average list and net price increases for its products. Merck’s average net prices after factoring in those discounts decreased by 1.9% in 2017 as list prices increased 6.6%.

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Consumers are increasingly using digital technologies to manage their own health

KEY TAKEAWAY: Research suggests that emerging technologies are shifting the composition of the care team.  Consumers are increasingly using digital technologies to manage their own health, they are adopting virtual care, and they see the advantages of harnessing the collective power of humans and machines. (Source: Accenture) Continue reading

Big Pharma handed a rare loss

KEY TAKEAWAY: Big Pharma was handed a rare loss as Congressional leaders moved to pass the $1.3 trillion omnibus budget.  Lobbyists for the pharmaceutical industry have been camped out on Capitol Hill this past month working legislators to change new policies tied to payment obligations attached to Medicare Part D, the so-called Donut Hole. The changes call for the financial liability covered by insurance carriers for prescription drugs not covered by Medicare to shrink, while that obligation rises for pharmaceutical companies. For drug makers, their share of discount rises from 50% to 70%. Lobbyists had been trying to push those numbers down to 60%. Continue reading

Spreading the blame for high health care costs

KEY TAKEAWAY: Accoring to the Economist, “EVERY year America spends about $5,000 more per person on health care than other rich countries do.  With healthcare firms making excess profits of $65bn a year. Surprisingly, the worst offenders are not pharmaceutical firms, but an army of corporate healthcare middlemen”. However, the patient, stick in the middle of this debate, doesn’t care. Continue reading