Medical Device Spending not a Major Factor in Canadian Healthcare Costs

A recent Canadian Health Policy Institute study of medical device and healthcare costs in 66 countries has found that device spending has had an insignificant effect on overall healthcare expenditures in Canada between 2006 and 2011.

Researchers found that 55 countries spent more on medical devices per capita than Canada between 2006 and 2011, and that 33 countries spent more than Canada on medical devices as a percentage of GDP per capita.

Within Canada, medical device spending totaled less than four percent of total healthcare spending per capita over the same time period. Over the entire course of the study’s five-year timeframe, Canada ranked lower than all other top 25 Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries in terms of medical device spending per capita, medical device spending as a percentage of total healthcare spending, and device spending as a percentage of GDP per capita.

Canada medical device and healthcare spending

These results should dissuade the Canadian government from targeting the medical device sector as part of its broader healthcare cost containment efforts, argue researchers:

“Given the tiny proportional impact of medical device spending, cost containment efforts targeting medical devices in Canada are not likely to produce large overall savings on total healthcare costs,” the study states. Researchers argue further that cost containment should focus more on Canadian healthcare system components accounting for the bulk of healthcare spending.

The Canadian Health Policy study comes at the same time as European research on medical device and healthcare spending recently covered by Emergo Group; that study also found little impact of medical device spending on overall healthcare costs in major markets.  

Stewart Eisenhart