Home Back Issues May 2013 What is driving the cost of health care?

What is driving the cost of health care?

| Print |  Email
Articles - May 2013
Monday, April 29, 2013
Article Index
What is driving the cost of health care?
Cost shifting
Aging population
New technologies
Reform

New technologies

The U.S. is renowned for health care innovation, and new medications, devices and techniques have revolutionized standard practices many times over in the last quarter century. However, newfangled technologies have a price. Portland-based HemCon Medical Technologies, for example, developed a novel type of bandage formulated using the substance chitosan, derived from shrimp, which rapidly stops bleeding on the battlefield and beyond. The fact that HemCon became Oregon's biggest corporate bankruptcy of 2012 after being sued for patent infringement illustrates that stakes are high in health care technology. Companies spend many years developing products, investing millions, awaiting FDA approval and fending off litigation. So if and when brand-name drugs or medical devices finally hit the market, prices must be inflated way above manufacturing costs to cover all the R&D, marketing and intellectual property fees before patents run out or the technology becomes obsolete.

These demands fuel medical inflation. In 2012, Portland-Salem’s consumer price index (CPI) for medical care was 262 points above CPI for all other items, and it has greatly surpassed U.S. medical care CPI since 2007. Prescription drugs are one of the fastest growing among medical care CPI components, and Oregonians have been heavier-than-average drug consumers. In 2011, Oregonians per capita filled 13.3 retail prescription drugs at pharmacies, versus 12.1 across the county, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.

Health care companies will continue to face battles bringing products to market, and it’s unlikely patients’ hunger for better drugs and technologies will be sated anytime soon. But if consumers can become more cognizant of the costs of their care — even as an employer or insurance company foots the bill — they might aid its cost-effectiveness.

0513 Data Graph 03

SOURCE: CENTERS FOR DISEASE CONTROL AND PREVENTION
0513 Data Graph 05SOURCE: U.S. BUREAU OF ECONOMIC ANALYSIS


 

More Articles

Two sides of the coin

Contributed Blogs
Monday, August 25, 2014
0825 thumb moneyBY JASON NORRIS | OB GUEST BLOGGER

Ferguson Wellman’s investment views on the economy and capital markets.


Read more...

Launch

September 2014
Tuesday, August 26, 2014
BY JESSICA RIDGWAY

September's Launch article features Orchid Health, BuddyUp and Inter-Europe Consulting.


Read more...

Podcast: Testing for Emotional Intelligence with John Hersey

Contributed Blogs
Friday, September 19, 2014
ivbU3sIXBY TOM COX | OB BLOGGER

How can you tell if you, a peer, a subordinate or a job candidate has the emotional intelligence needed to do well?


Read more...

Report Card

September 2014
Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Strong public schools shore up the economy, survey respondents say. But local schools demonstrate lackluster performance.


Read more...

What I'm Reading

September 2014
Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Kim Ierian, President of Concorde Career Colleges, and Deborah Edward, Executive Director of Business for Culture & the Arts, share their recent reads.


Read more...

A Taste of Heaven

September 2014
Tuesday, August 26, 2014
BY VIVIAN MCINERNY

Craft beer comes to Mount Angel.


Read more...

Risks & rewards of owning triple net investments

Contributed Blogs
Thursday, July 24, 2014
NNNinvestmentBY CLIFF HOCKLEY | OB GUEST CONTRIBUTOR

With the increasing retirements of Baby Boomers, a massive real estate shift has created a significant increase in demand for NNN properties. The result? Increased demand has triggered higher prices and lower yields.


Read more...
Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02
SPONSORED LINKS