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8 August 2019BiotechnologyDaniel Lim

The future of precision medicine part 6: reimbursement

It’s difficult to have a conversation about healthcare without discussing its economics. It’s almost axiomatic these days to recite that healthcare systems around the world are perennially underfunded and struggling under an ever-increasing burden.

This is despite comprising a significant proportion of public spending in many countries, equivalent to approximately 10% of gross domestic product in 2016, according to the World Bank.

Developed countries are faced with the challenge of aging population demographics, with the increased healthcare demands this entails; developing countries are faced with the problem of increasing access to medicine (particularly newer, expensive treatments) and continuing to develop healthcare infrastructure and build a skilled workforce of healthcare professionals.

The emotiveness and universality of healthcare as a deeply personal issue means it is regularly a hot button political issue, recently exemplified by the influence of claims about funding the National Health Service on the UK’s Brexit referendum and the polarised views around “Obamacare” in the US.

The challenging economics of diagnostics were discussed in the fourth instalment in this series on precision medicine, but it is typically the cost of treatments that dominates the headlines and political agendas.

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