Disease Management: A Global Cost-Containing Initiative?
Disease management has been marketed by healthcare industry providers as a way of improving resource allocation in healthcare and containing costs. However, to achieve improved efficiency in healthcare requires the guidelines and protocols in the disease management process to be based on sound evidence of effectiveness and cost effectiveness. This has not always been the case. The approach itself has an inadequate evidence base in terms of randomised controlled trials, other rigorous methods of evaluation and the results of economic evaluation. Disease management can be viewed as an attempt by pharmaceutical companies to undertake forward vertical integration into other parts of the healthcare process. This could reduce uncertainty for purchasers and reduce transaction costs, thereby potentially facilitating both healthcare expenditure control and efficiency. However, such cost savings may be outweighed by a concentration of power in disease management (pharmaceutical) companies, and the exploitation of such power to inflate expenditure and misallocate resources. Disease management must be appraised with care.
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