In a column published Feb. 14 in STAT, National Pharmaceutical Council Chief Science Officer and Vice President Robert Dubois discusses the risk of misinterpreting health care spending statistics.
Dubois in his write up says people are more often to panic over remote risks, but shrug at dangers which seem more mundane, such as pedestrian deaths.
“An 11 percent jump in shark attacks sounds substantial, but it means nine or so additional bites,” Dubois writes. “Last year’s 11 percent jump in pedestrian fatalities meant hundreds more lives lost. Guess which topic received more attention?”
The same phenomenon, according to Dubois, can be seen in health spending talks.
He cites a report in the Journal of the American Medical Association which led to headlines focused on a sizable increase in drug spending between 1996 and 2013 caused by pharmaceutical price hikes and advanced therapies.
“A closer look at the absolute numbers tells a different story than the headlines,” Dubois writes.