Dr. Anupam Jena, an associate professor of healthcare policy at Harvard Medical School and doctor at Massachusetts General Hospital, shares his thoughts on the high price of American medicine. He notes that over 30% of national health expenditures go to hospital care while another 20% come from doctor’s visits. Prescription drugs are below both of these categories at 15%. Dr. Jena provides insight into why prescription drugs are so frequently put in the spotlight when it comes to healthcare costs. He notes that drugs are taken regularly while hospital visits are relatively rare. Finally, we have much data regarding drug efficacy thanks to well-designed clinical trials, but very little comparing doctors and hospitals to one another.
He remarks, “The problem is that we lack data where we need it most. We have less data on medical decisions that affect millions of people than we do on drugs for rare diseases that affect hundreds. We don’t know whether higher-priced hospitals or doctors deliver better outcomes, questions that are far more difficult to assess than how well one drug works versus another.” Read more here.
(Source: Anupam Jena, 2/18/21, The Washington Post)