As part of a campaign to draw attention to the rising costs of healthcare in the U.S., the New York Times published an article last week on how “Even Small Medical Advances Can Mean Big Jumps in Bills”. In addition to profiling advanced medical technologies such as insulin pumps for the treatment of diabetes, the article gave an example of how a single three-hour IV infusion of an auto-immune drug in a clinic generated a bill of $133,000. While most of this cost was borne by the insurance company, the patient described being so outraged by the total cost that they asked their physician to switch them to a different brand of therapy that could be self-injected.
While the cost to administer a single dose of drug via IV infusion in a hospital or specialty care clinic is more commonly around $1,000 to $10,000, it is still estimated that a healthcare plan can save between 30% and 70% if the same therapy was administered by a specialist in an alternative setting such as a patient’s home. In addition to reducing healthcare costs, the convenient administration of an IV infusion drug in the home environment can also improve patient quality of life.