Focus on drug price controls, preventive care can curb healthcare inflation

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New Delhi, Jan 31 (IANS) While there are several options for taming inflation in healthcare, prioritising prescription drug price control and placing a strong emphasis on preventive care emerge as key solutions, according to a report on Wednesday.

Inflation in healthcare refers to the persistent increase in the cost of medical goods and services over time. This phenomenon is driven by a combination of factors, including advancements in medical technology, rising labour costs, pharmaceutical innovations, and the complex interplay of supply and demand within the healthcare market.

The report by GlobalData, a data and analytics company, reveals that healthcare professionals (HCPs) believe that enforcing prescription drug price controls and giving greater priority to preventive care stand out as the top two solutions that could effectively mitigate healthcare inflation.

Similar results were observed in previous survey waves that were launched to capture the H1 2023 and 2022 outlook.

“Inflation in healthcare often results in increased expenses for medical services, medications, and equipment. This can burden both patients and healthcare providers, potentially limiting access to essential treatments and straining the financial stability of healthcare institutions. Additionally, it may contribute to disparities in healthcare access and quality,” said Sachin Gharat, Associate Project Manager at GlobalData, in a statement.

The 2023 H2 physician survey includes 682 respondents across the US, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, UK and Japan. In H2 2023, more than half of the surveyed HCPs expressed a preference for incorporating preventive methods into patient care. This inclination toward prevention underscores a growing recognition of its dual benefit: improving health outcomes while simultaneously contributing to a more cost-effective healthcare system.

“Long discussed as a potential cost-control strategy, prioritising preventive care to reduce overall healthcare spending is often cited in conjunction with drug pricing controls. Additionally, efforts aimed at reducing avoidable complications and hospital admissions are seen as integral to alleviating financial strain on the healthcare sector, especially within the constraints of already stretched budgets,” Gharat said.

A majority of respondents, exceeding 50 per cent, believe that controlling the prices of prescription drugs stands out as a pivotal solution.

“Implementing controls over drug prices is a complex endeavour that demands careful balancing. Excessive pricing limits could potentially discourage pharmaceutical companies from investing in innovative research and development, consequently leading to higher drug prices,” Gharat said.



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