Prices Drop For Major Medical Implants

Hospitals in 2011 paid 34% less per device for drug-eluting stents than they paid in 2007, according to a new AdvaMed report which also found substantial price-cuts for 6 other categories of major medical implants.

Hospitals in 2011 paid an average of 34% less for drug-eluting stents than they did in 2007, according to a new report. They also paid 27% less for bare metal stents and 26% less for both pacemakers and cardiac resynchronization therapy defibrillators.

The findings reinforce previous AdvaMed studies, which have found that medical device spending makes up a consistently small percentage of the U.S. healthcare budget and that average device prices have increased at a rate of about 1% per year since 2000.

“What else in health care can you say is going down in terms of price?” AdvaMed president & CEO Stephen Ubl told Bloomberg. “At least in this part of health care, good old fashioned competition works well.”

The numbers validate the strength of the industry, Ubl said in prepared remarks. Despite ever-increasing pricing pressures, the burden of the new

2.3% medical device tax that took effect this year and the ever-present struggle with regulation, medical device makers have managed to thrive.

“These average pricing declines reflect the intensely competitive marketplace for medical technology and underscore the tremendous value devices and diagnostics provide to patients and the overall health care system,” Ubl said. “We look forward to sharing the results of this new study with members of Congress and other policymakers as they consider changes to the health care delivery and payment system.”

Percentage Change in Reported Average Real Prices by Medical Device Category6

The report, commissioned by medical device lobbying group AdvaMed, examined average hospitals prices for cardiac resynchronization therapy defibrillators (CRTDs), implantable cardioverter defibrillators (ICDs), pacemakers, artificial hips, artificial knees, drug eluting stents and bare metal stents. The numbers, adjusted to account for inflation, suggest significant price cuts over the 4-year analysis period.

The researchers examined just the cost of the implantable devices, excluding other medical-device-related costs included in implantation procedures. The study also does not account for average prices of any specific device, looking only at average hospital costs for different categories. That suggests that falling costs may be partly attributable to changes in “product mix” over time, such as hospitals opting to buy cheaper or pricier versions of different implants.

The survey included pricing data from between 153 to 294 hospitals per device category and year that data was available, featuring hospitals that were geographically and institutionally diverse in order to forge results that might be better representative of the nation’s healthcare providers.


Josh Sandberg

Josh Sandberg is the President of Ortho Sales Partners and Partner for The De Angelis Group. He also serves as Co-Founder and Editor of OrthoSpineNews.

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