Earlier this year, the Washington Post reported on The Real Reason the U.S. Spends Twice as Much on Health Care as Other Wealthy Countries. In it, Carolyn Johnson notes a Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) study finds that Americans are using healthcare at similar rates to other wealthy nations, but that “the real difference is in the prices of the procedures and treatments.” Johnson notes that “prices can be difficult to curb, because one person’s high price is another person’s profit margin or salary.” Indeed. Johnson notes that, at least with regard to drug prices, efforts to control costs “typically fall apart under the weight of extensive lobbying by the industry.”
Drugs often get a lot of attention, but medical device prices are keeping procedure costs high as well. Members of the Association of Medical Device Reprocessors, or AMDR, are committed to lowering procedure costs by helping hospitals maximize the value of the medical device assets they already own. And, as with the drug industry, many of those medical device manufacturers with whom we compete are used to those high margins and salaries and therefore undertake tremendous efforts to sell hospitals more “single-use” devices, to add chips, software and other “gimmicks,” in our words, to force obsolescence so that hospitals continue to buy more brand new devices instead of maximizing the life of the devices they already own.
Medical device reprocessing is not a silver bullet that will control all health spending, but we are helping to reduce costs, waste and promote patient care in the medical device space. Healthcare providers and policymakers should know that, as part of the AMDR Credo, our members support a robust, competitive marketplace for medical devices whereby hospitals and healthcare providers have unfettered access to all medical technologies and the ability to freely purchase, reprocess or otherwise control medical device assets as they see most appropriate. AMDR and its members are committed to conducting themselves in an open, transparent and accountable manner, to supporting hospitals in efforts to maximize the value of existing medical device assets and to assist hospitals in combatting inappropriate medical device manufacturer interference intended to thwart reprocessing programs.