HCA 255 Topic 7 DQ 1
The advances made in health care have been exponentially increasing over the past hundred years; however, the availability of some of these advances has been blunted by lengthy approval processes, excessive costs, limited access, or regulatory requirements. Should these factors be modified? If so, how?
Medical advances such as vaccines, effective drugs, and organ transplantation have dramatically improved health care and quality of life. However, factors such as lengthy approval processes, excessive costs, limited access, and regulatory requirements for safety may significantly limit the availability of these advances. Some argue that these factors should remain unchanged; others believe modifications should be made.
Despite the dramatic advances made in medicine over the last 100 years, the availability of treatment for many conditions is still severely limited by lengthy approval processes, excessive costs, and regulatory requirements. These factors have contributed to a major decline in health status in the U.S., resulting in the cost of care being significantly higher than every other industrialized nation.
A growing number of Americans believe that factors such as length of approval time, cost, and limited access to medications should be reevaluated. These factors create unnecessary hardships for both the health care industry and patients. Without upgrades in these factors, the industry is more vulnerable to legal processes and potentially billions of dollars in damages
Health care advances created to save lives often get stuck in a bureaucratic obstacle course before they can reach the people who need them most. It takes an average of 15 years for a potential new drug to make it from bench to bedside, according to the Tufts Center for the Study of Drug Development. By that time, it may be obsolete due to improvements offered by later-generation drugs. Contributing to that delay are three factors: lengthy approval processes by the FDA, skyrocketing costs, and limited access to new drugs from physicians. However, there are possible ways to expedite drugs’ availability while maintaining ample protections against consumer harm.
The advancing access to health care serves two roles: it helps the community, and it creates new and better opportunities for the members of the community. Advances in health care serve to improve both health and quality of life. These advances should be available to all. However, insurance costs, availability, and regulatory requirements sometimes limit accessibility. In order to more efficiently and effectively provide services, these factors should be modified.
For millions of Americans, access to the benefits of recent advances in biomedical science is limited. The approval process and financial costs associated with developing new drugs and devices can be enormous. In addition, the regulatory burden on medical device manufacturers is crushing their ability to produce affordable products. Consequently, many patients do not receive timely or appropriate medical treatment.
This assignment will explore the complexities facing new health care technologies and whether regulatory hurdles or other issues need to be modified in order to make these technologies available to patients.
My mother had to wait over a year for approval for a new drug for her advanced cancer. Her cancer eventually became resistant to the drug, and she passed away as a result of her disease. While there are other factors that might have been responsible, this approval process definitely contributed to her passing. At the same time, pharmaceutical companies had spent over $1 billion (in research costs) on the approval process, so they lost over $1 billion while my mom was suffering. I feel like we should find some middle ground where everyone wins: the patient gets appropriate treatment; the pharmaceutical company can get their money back and make a profit on a fair price; and patients don’t have to wait a year or two years for approval or be bankrupted by an unreasonably high cost just because they’re not covered under their health insurance.
Health care should be viewed at both the macro and micro levels, with focus on improving access, efficiency, and fairness at the micro level. Specifically, changes to how health care is regulated are needed; increased emphasis on prevention and appropriate use of advanced medical technologies; and changes in reimbursement for medical services that more accurately reflect their costs, the risks involved for patients, and their true benefits.
If there are any technologies that have had a significant impact on health care in the past hundred years, it is the technologies of intervention. These include interventions such as coronary artery bypass graft surgery (vascular grafts), extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO), and hemodialysis—all of which were initially greeted with skepticism or opposition. Of course, patients and physicians often questioned whether these new technologies were overpriced, experimental, unnecessary, and even dangerous. But eventually all these technologies made their way into clinical practice . . . .
The global health bureaucracy imposes conflicting goals. It may be time to rethink its purpose.