A new approach for controlling the skyrocketing cost of health care

August 29, 2012

A potentially powerful new approach for limiting health care costs—which account for almost $1 out of every $5 spent in the U.S. each year—is the topic of the feature story in this week's edition of Chemical & Enginering News (C&EN), the weekly news magazine of the American Chemical Society (ACS), the world's largest scientific society.

C&EN Senior Correspondent Marc S. Reisch explains that one until-now neglected way to reign in spending involves providing patients and doctors with better diagnostic tests. Such tests could save money by providing greater certainty that patients get the right treatment from Day One, reducing the use of unnecessary procedures, prescriptions and hospital stays.

Reisch describes how scientific instrument makers, which for years have enabled research on new drugs, increasingly see a role for themselves in diagnostics used by physicians to help decide which drugs to prescribe to patients. Instrument makers like Thermo Fisher Scientific, Agilent Technologies and Life Technologies have spent more than $14 billion over the last year buying diagnostics makers. Reisch reports that these next-generation diagnostic tests can identify a specific disease or indicate whether a chemotherapy regimen is working. That information can help doctors make better decisions about how to treat a patient.

Explore further: Not by DNA alone: How the epigenetics revolution is fostering new medicines

More information: "Diagnosing Opportunity", cen.acs.org/articles/90/i35/Diagnosing-Opportunity.html

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