Welcome back to another week of news in the healthcare industry.
First, read a Forbes article that reports on how wealth inequality affects healthcare access. It argues that a divide between those who can afford the best, most comprehensive (often out-of-network) healthcare and those who can’t will likely accompany the growing wealth gap.
The rich and super-rich are have always been very willing to commit resources to living longer, healthier lives. Today, the prospects for doing so are greater than ever before. […] For the vast majority of people, the economics of receiving some of the most advanced medical care is unworkable. Although effective treatments not covered by health insurance will, in time, filter down to the general population, many new advances will, in the short term (10 years) continue to be available only to the rich and those who plan for them.
Next, learn how more stringent FDA regulations have reduced competition in the pharmaceutical industry ultimately leading to high costs for consumers.
U.S. News & World Report | How the FDA Drives Up Drug Prices
The biggest drivers of this increase are higher clinical trial costs, especially phase III efficacy trials, along with a lower probability that the new drug will be approved by the FDA. In fact, the probability that a potential drug entering clinical trial stage will be eventually approved by the FDA decreased from 23 percent to 11.83 percent. This means that the FDA is asking drug makers to produce more and more data, yet it’s increasingly less likely to approve new drugs. […] Ensuring drug safety and efficacy is important, but so is drug affordability. What use is a safe and effective drug if patients cannot afford to buy it? Studies show that the high cost of drugs is one of main reasons behind patients’ failures to take prescribed medications, especially for patients with a chronic condition. As a result, patients’ health problems are left untreated and eventually require expensive treatments and hospitalization. By some estimates, medication non-adherence – the failure to take prescribed medications – imposes an additional $100 billion to $300 billion in health care costs annually.
[image credit: Milan Markovic / Thinkstock]
Finally, read an article that draws attention to the rise of the telehealth industry, debunking myths about telehealth such as its supposed lack of clinical permissibility and policy inconsistency.
In 2013 there were only 13 states that were cleared for consultation and prescribing and three states restricted consultation in the absence of a prior in-person relationship. According to American Well, a telemedicine technology solutions company by January 2016 most states had been cleared to consult and prescribe, with various exceptions in Alaska, Louisiana, and Indiana […] As patients demand to be the CEO of their health, the healthcare ecosystem will need to work together to tackle clinical permissibility, licensure, and reimbursement before telehealth goes mainstream.
SingleCare has partnered with AmericanWell to provide first-class Telehealth services. Telehealth is a faster, easier way to see a doctor. Skip the waiting room and have your visit over video or phone from the privacy of your home or office. For SingleCare members, telehealth medical visits are just $44; much less than the cost of an in-person doctor visit! Find out more here.
[main image credit: AndreyPopov / Thinkstock]