Tuesday, January 6, 2009

2007: Slowing the Rise in Health Care--and Prescription Drug--Costs

You might say that what happened in 2007 is pretty old news, but it's the latest year for which the bean counters have crunched the numbers-- see a useful summary with numerous references in the Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report:


The bottom line is--while costs still went up for health care overall, the 6.1% increase for 2007 was the slowest rate of growth in nine years. A good chunk of that was fueled by the lower rate of growth in prescription drug costs (4.9% compared to a yearly average of 9.4% between 2001 and 2006). The gurus attributed that in turn to three factors--more use of generics; slower growth in drug prices; and increased black box warnings and other safety concerns scaring people off from some of the previously popular high-cost drugs.

The purpose of this blog is to explore the ethical issues at the interface between the medical profession and the pharmaceutical industry, not to fight for lower drug prices. But it would seem that at least some of what we are trying to do is having a measureable effect.

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