Putting members’ health before profit

Australians still paying high prices for medical devices

The Herald Sun reports that Australians are paying some of the highest prices in the world for medical devices and knee replacements.

The article lists several medical devices such as stents, pledgets and plates, that Australians are still paying too much for. The Commonwealth currently fixes prostheses costs for private health consumers through its ‘Prostheses List’, a list of more than 11,000 medical devices and implants.

The Member Health Alliance – the peak industry body for 26 member-owned and not for profit private health insurers – said that the previous government’s reforms were “a positive step in the right direction with more work to follow”.

The Alliance’s CEO, Matthew Koce said his organisation wanted further changes to drive down costs including a single centralised body to purchase medical devices for both public and private hospitals, similar to that in France.

Members Health’s analysis of the data has shown that in some instances, patients can expect to be charged $5,000 more for an identical medical device in Australia than in France.

According to a comparison of the prices listed in Australia and France, the world’s largest global manufacturers are charging a whopping 158 to 256 per cent more in Australia for hip replacement components. Pacemaker manufacturers are charging between 28 to 85 per cent more Down Under.

Read the full story by the Herald Sun’s Sue Dunlevy, here.