Study Compares Medical Device Spending

The study, published by Canadian Health Policy Institute (CHPI), found that averaged over the period 2006 to 2011, Canada ranked 56th of 66 countries when measuring medical device spending per capita as a percentage of total health spending per capita and 34th of 66 countries when measuring medical device spending per capita as a percentage of GDP per capita.  Medical device spending in Canada declined from 3.49% of total health spending in 2006 to 3.23% in 2011 averaging 3.41% over the period. Medical device spending per capita accounted for only 0.36% of GDP per capita in Canada on average over 2006-2011.

The study observes that significant public resources are spent by governments to assess the cost-effectiveness of things like medical devices and pharmaceuticals. Policy makers devote proportionately much less effort to assessing the cost-effectiveness of other components of healthcare spending.  The study concludes that given the tiny proportional impact of medical device spending, cost containment efforts targeting medical devices in Canada are not likely to produce large overall savings on total healthcare costs.

The findings strongly suggest that the resources and political effort invested in containing the costs of medical technology would be more likely to produce a bigger total cost-savings return if redirected toward targets that account for much larger shares of total expenditure.

To Access the Study:

The study, Medical devices and healthcare costs in Canada and 65 other countries, 2006 to 2011, is available for free download from Canadian Health Policy, the online journal of the Canadian Health Policy Institute (CHPI).

REFERENCE:  Today’s Medical Developments; Manufacturing Group; May 17, 2013

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