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Prescription Drug And Healthcare Costs Are Rising

Over the last 100 years, the practice of medicine has come a long way. More focus on evidence-based research, new innovations in medical technology, and novel therapeutic and treatment methods are just some of the ways that modern medicine has been able to increase both quality of life and the average life expectancy of society. However, one major area of concern in the last decade has been prescription drug pricing.

Late last week, famed pharmaceutical information and discount company GoodRx published a report titled “Prices for Prescription Drugs Rise Faster Than Any Other Medical Good or Service.” After comparing The Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Consumer Price Index to the GoodRx Drug List Price Index, the comprehensive report found that “while prices for most medical goods and services are rising, prescription drugs have seen the largest increase. Since 2014, prescription drug prices have increased by 33%. During the same period, other medical services, like inpatient hospital services, nursing home care, and dental services have increased by 30%, 23%, and 19%, respectively.”

But the rising cost of healthcare services is a long-standing debate. The American healthcare system is complex, and has many key stakeholders, each with their own opinion on how to fix healthcare spending. However, one of the most researched and emerging solutions to reducing healthcare costs is to address social determinants of health (SDOH), which, according to the CDC, include “conditions in the places where people live, learn, work, and play that affect a wide range of health and quality-of life-risks and outcomes.” Numerous studies continue to find that resolving problems centered around SDOH often mitigates downstream health problems, leading to an overall cost-savings for the patient, healthcare system, and community. In essence, the idea is to shift focus to making proactive healthcare choices, rather than finding reactive solutions.

Fixing SDOH however, will take significant effort by multiple parties. Indeed, more emphasis will need to be given to primary care services, which are often the lifeline for preventative and routine healthcare services in a given community. By emphasizing routine primary care screenings, healthier lifestyles, and working with individuals at a grass-roots community level, more progress can be made towards creating healthier societies, thereby fulfilling the “proactive” approach.

Overall, sustainable changes in this arena will likely require a significant shift in mindset and culture— one that prioritizes creating healthier lifestyles to prevent sickness, rather than management of illnesses as they arise.

Though this is not an easily resolved issue, one thing is for certain— without sustainable and effective solutions, healthcare prices will only continue to rise, inevitably making it more difficult for communities and individuals to achieve long-term success in healthcare outcomes.

The content of this article is not implied to be and should not be relied on or substituted for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment by any means, and is not written or intended as such. This content is for information and news purposes only. Consult with a trained medical professional for medical advice.

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