What is driving the cost of health care?

| Print |  Email
Articles - May 2013
Monday, April 29, 2013

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

Downtime with Jill Nelson

September 2015
Wednesday, August 19, 2015
BY JACOB PALMER

Live, Work, Play wit the CEO of Ruby Receptionists.


Read more...

Inside the Box

September 2015
Wednesday, August 19, 2015
BY GINA BINOLE

Screening for “culture fit” has become an essential part of the hiring process. But do like-minded employees actually build strong companies — or merely breed consensus culture?


Read more...

Aim High

September 2015
Thursday, August 20, 2015
BY JOE CORTRIGHT

We get the education we deserve.


Read more...

Child care challenge

News
Wednesday, August 26, 2015
0927OHSUhealthystarts-thumbBY KIM MOORE AND LINDA BAKER

Child care in Oregon is expensive and hard to find. We delved into the numbers and talked to a few executives and managers about day care costs, accessibility and work-life balance.


Read more...

Getting What You Pay For

September 2015
Wednesday, August 19, 2015
BY KIM MOORE

A conversation with Chris Maples, president of the Oregon Institute of Technology.


Read more...

The Private 150: From Strength to Strength

July/August 2015
Monday, July 13, 2015
BY KIM MOORE

Revenues in Oregon's private, for profit sector maintained solid growth as the economy continued to rebound.


Read more...

Storyteller in Chief: Natural Prophets

July/August 2015
Monday, July 13, 2015
BY SAM BLACKMAN

Storyteller-in-chief with the CEO and co-founder of Elemental Technologies.


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