The acceleration of health care research to combat critical diseases and conditions has funneled money and energy into developing new technologies. From life-saving devices to medications that prolong and enhance lives, we owe a lot to the advances scientists have made in labs across the country. However, with so much pressure to develop treatments, many of them clear Food and Drug Administration (FDA) tests before they're reasonably affordable for the average consumer, or on the average health insurance plan.
The choice this gives many patients is to invest more than they can afford to in beating an illness or condition, or to decline treatments that could enhance the quality of their lives. Because so many novel prescriptions and treatments come with a whopping sticker price, executives in the pharmaceutical industry have spoken out to pressure the FDA to consider a treatment's economic value as well as its medical effectiveness.
According to a survey by PricewaterhouseCoopers, 40 percent of pharmaceutical executives support a review of drugs that considers their economic impact as well as their legitimacy for treating conditions. Because those considerations aren't prioritized in current review processes, drugs find their way to the market before consumers can have democratic access to them, regardless of income or socioeconomic status. The result can be crippling for patients who find themselves unable to pay medical bills, accruing significant debt and complicating the health insurance collections process.
According to Hit Consultant, last year 70 percent of FDA approvals were for specialty drugs, which often come along with heftier co-pays for patients. With the acceleration of research for specialty drugs, more Americans could overextend themselves financially in order to receive treatment. As the market stands today, this creates a cycle of debt for which healthcare management administrators spend costly time and energy pursuing payment.