Industry study: In 20 years, med device, Dx costs barely grew

Don't even think about trying to blame medical devices for accelerating the cost of health care. An updated AdvaMed study concludes that device and diagnostic prices have risen at a much lower rate than other life sciences related products, and consumer goods in general.

The study concludes that med tech spending amounted to 6% of national health expenditures in 2010, versus 5.5% in 1989. Interestingly, device and diagnostic prices grew on average about 1% annually in the last 21 years, the study concludes, much lower than the average consumer price index increase of about 2.7%.

By contrast, the medical care consumer price index jumped an average 4.7% over the same time period, with the medical care services consumer price index climbing 5% on average.

Why release this now? Ann-Marie Lynch, AdvaMed's executive vice president for payment and health care delivery policy, explains in a statement that the organization will "share the results of this new study" with Congress "and other policymakers as they consider changes" to how health care is delivered and paid for in this country.

In other words, medical device and diagnostics companies gain an important lobbying document. The industry can point to the sector as creating real value, for example, in its ongoing argument that the looming medical device industry tax and its potential threat to jobs is a misplaced endeavor. This document also provides a counter-argument against the notion that medical devices contribute to the continued escalation of health care costs. And as Medicare faces potential changes and austerity measures down the line, the document offers another lobbying tool to argue for preserving, or even enhancing, current reimbursement rates.

- read the release