For decades healthcare has gotten more expensive while outcomes have gotten worse. Healthcare made the transition from a nonprofit model to a business slowly over decades. Now our national healthcare spending in the U.S. weighs in at 18% of GDP compared to just 8.8% on average for other industrialized nations. People are dying from lack of access to medical care in one of the richest nations on Earth. Consequently, the pandemic is exacerbating the seriousness of the situation right before our eyes.
The inventors of insulin sold their patent for a dollar. As a result, the life-saving medication could be made available to all who needed it, affordably. In the last decade, insulin has gotten so expensive that diabetics are often rationing it or turning to the black market. As a result, some are even dying in the process. From 2012 to 2016 the cost of medications and supplies for diabetics have risen $2841 each year, making a once manageable disease a death sentence.
Epipens are another life-saving medication that has become more expensive than many patients can afford. Despite the fact this technology has been around since the 1970s, the pharmaceutical company that owns the patent saw no reason not to raise the price by 500%. The cost of a two-pack of EpiPens went from around $100 to $600 overnight.
We’re also seeing the result of decades of shrinking healthcare reimbursements during the pandemic. Hospitals are unable to keep an excess of supplies on hand and have instead turned to on-demand and group purchasing to keep costs low. This has resulted in shortages of PPE among other problems.
Learn more about the social perils of mixing business and medicine below.