Health insurers are spending more and more on patients' medicines and aids
In Germany, more and more remedies and aids are prescribed. This emerges from the 2012 Medicinal Products and Aid Report of the Barmer GEK. According to this, around 11.2 billion euros are spent annually for medical services such as physiotherapy and massages as well as for aids, which include wheelchairs and hearing aids. Nevertheless, the supply of medicines and aids often seems to bypass patient needs.
Medicines and aids not always sensible for patients As the Barmer GEK reported at the presentation of the Medicines and Aids Report 2012 in Berlin on Tuesday, expenditure on medicines and aids has increased by 22 and 30 percent in the past five years. 6.3 billion euros were spent on aids last year, which corresponds to an increase of 4.7 percent. The increase in costs is also noticeable with the aids. Medical services cost € 4.9 billion in 2011, an increase of 6.6 percent.
However, not every prescription for medicines and aids seems to make sense. “In many cases, the supply of medicines and medical aids ignores patient needs. Children, back patients and those in need of long-term care are particularly affected, ”says the Barmer GEK website. Drug therapy is common in children with mental illness, but alternative therapies such as occupational therapy are rarely used. However, these alternatives are often useful, for example, in the treatment of ADHD. Many doctors lack evidence-based decision-making aids. For this reason, drugs would be prescribed above all if there was no therapeutic uncertainty, the health insurance company said.
The benefit of the patient should be in the foreground when it comes to the supply of medicines and medical aids. The same applies to other areas. "Although the effectiveness of classic massages as the sole treatment measure is deemed little or not sensible by a large number of physiotherapists for chronic back pain, almost 280,000 Barmer GEK insured received a corresponding prescription in the past year alone," reports the Barmer GEK. In order to put the benefit of the patient in the foreground, Rolf-Ulrich Schlenker, Vice-President of the Barmer GEK, is calling for a medical device market reorganization law that is to be modeled on the AMNOG drug market reorganization law. (ag)