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Prices for cardiac implant devices may be up to six times higher in the US than in some European countries

Wenzl, Martin and Mossialos, Elias (2018) Prices for cardiac implant devices may be up to six times higher in the US than in some European countries. Health Affairs, 37 (10). pp. 1570-1577. ISSN 0278-2715

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Identification Number: 10.1377/hlthaff.2017.1367


Medical devices are estimated to account for 6 percent of health expenditures in the US and 7 percent in European Union (EU) countries. Cardiac implants are a large segment of the market, but little is known about their prices. Using 2006–14 data from a large hospital panel survey, this article provides a systematic comparison of prices of cardiac implants between the US and four EU countries. The data reveal that prices were two to six times higher in the US than in Germany, where cardiac implants were generally the cheapest. Prices also varied between EU countries. Prices of coronary stents and pacemakers were higher in France and Italy than in the UK, where prices were similar to those in Germany. The data also confirmed findings of prior studies that found significant price variation between hospitals within a given country. This study found that within-and between-country variations were similar in magnitude. While these findings can help assess whether technology-related policies effectively control the prices of cardiac devices, future research is necessary to establish a causal relationship between prices and several possible explanatory factors and help policy makers understand which mechanisms are available to control device prices.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: © 2018 Project HOPE—The People-to-People Health Foundation, Inc.
Divisions: Health Policy
Subjects: R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine > RA0421 Public health. Hygiene. Preventive Medicine
Date Deposited: 12 Apr 2019 14:39
Last Modified: 29 Jan 2020 11:18

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