Is There A Social Impact To Mixing Business And Medicine?

By Brian Wallace Brian Wallace has been verified by Muck Rack's editorial team
Published on May 1, 2020

In the United States, healthcare spending is 18% of the GDP and rising, which is 10% more than the global average for economically developed countries. Despite this high rate of spending, healthcare outcomes aren’t any better here, and in some cases they are even worse. Families struggle to afford necessary medications, and now hospitals are running out of personal protective equipment as a result of decades of belt-tightening. Is the business of medicine proving to be our undoing?

For-Profit Medicine Puts Treatment Out Of Reach For Many

When synthetic insulin was first developed decades ago, diabetes was a death sentence. Because of this, the creator of the lifesaving drug wanted to keep the cost low so that families could afford it. The inventor gave his patent away for free so that it could be made for everyone who needed it.

Unfortunately, in recent years, the cost of insulin has risen to the point that many diabetics can’t afford it. From 2012 to 2016, the cost of diabetes treatments rose $2841 each year per patient, leading many patients to ration insulin. Many patients have died from a lack of affordable insulin.

Epipens are life-saving tools for people with severe allergies. Most people have multiple Epipens on hand in case of an allergic reaction, and children with food and other allergies are required to have one for school, one for daycare, one for themselves, and one at home. 

What’s more, these devices have to be replaced on a yearly basis. Between 2009 and 2016 the cost of an Epipen rose from $100 each to $600 each, or $400 a year for a school child to $2400 a year for that same school child.

The cost of medical treatment leads many to put off seeking care, which leaves them to often deal with more serious and costly problems down the road.

The Business Of Medicine Has Impacted The COVID-19 Response

Because of razor thin profit margins, hospitals have used on-demand purchasing for decades, only ordering what they need as soon as it’s close to being out. Unfortunately, the pandemic has closed supply pipelines at a time when the trade war had already tightened the supply market. Now hospitals are scrambling to find personal protective equipment so they can respond to the healthcare needs of patients.
Should medical supply shortages be a catalyst for change within our healthcare system? Learn more about the perils of mixing business and medicine below.

By Brian Wallace Brian Wallace has been verified by Muck Rack's editorial team

Brian Wallace is a Columnist at Grit Daily. He is an entrepreneur, writer, and podcast host. He is the Founder and President of NowSourcing and has been featured in Forbes, TIME, and The New York Times. Brian previously wrote for Mashable and currently writes for Hacker Noon, CMSWire, Business 2 Community, and more. His Next Action podcast features entrepreneurs trying to get to the next level. Brian also hosts #LinkedInLocal events all over the country, promoting the use of LinkedIn among professionals wanting to grow their careers.

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