Applied Health Economics and Health Policy vol:7 issue:4 pages:209-217
This article aims to examine barriers to the efficient use of resources relating to medical devices, by focusing specifically on an economic analysis of the market structure of medical devices and on the assessment procedures for medical devices. A desktop analysis was conducted of the health economic literature relating to both of these aspects. This information was structured and analysed with a view to identifying and discussing the major issues that may threaten the efficient use of medical devices. Medical device sectors do not tend to operate as perfectly competitive markets because of the presence of heterogeneous products, information asymmetry and a restricted number of manufacturers. There is a need for government intervention to keep prices down, restrict public reimbursement and promote an efficient use of medical devices. Assessment procedures governing pricing and reimbursement of medical devices are lacking, are in development, or have only recently been established in the majority of developed countries. There is limited transparency and less formal attention of decision makers to assessment of the efficient use of resources in medical device sectors as compared with medicines. In conclusion, there is a need for more studies exploring the safety, effectiveness, cost effectiveness and budget impact of medical devices, so that decision makers can make informed pricing and reimbursement decisions based on objective analyses. Additionally, there is a need for more formal assessment systems for medical devices.