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bioinformatics prediction

2001-11-11 01:08:00+00 by Dan Lyke 4 comments

Prediction about the whole "new biology", bioinformatics and genomics craze: The failure of the boom will come because people will not want to pay more for healthcare. For successes, look towards use of biology in nano-manufacturing processes, and in places where it decreases costs, but not to places where it causes increased capabilities at increased costs.

[ related topics: Bioinformatics ]

comments in ascending chronological order (reverse):

#Comment made: 2002-02-21 05:33:17+00 by: Tom Negrino

Looked at another way, Dan's statement says that "People will refuse to pay more money so that they and their family members can stay healthy and live longer." This seems obviously wrong to me. Parents with a sick kid generally don't run a cost-benefit analysis while the kid is in the hospital, and pull the plug when the cost gets too high.

And the political pressure to get other people to pay for your medical care can't be underestimated. Since I'm a fan of single-payer socialized medicine with Oregon-style exclusion lists, I don't necessarily think that's a bad thing. But I'd want to see it done in some sort of intelligent fashion, rather than our deeply broken current system.

Back to the subject, if parents hear that the new BioWhizThang will save their little Susie from dying of brain cancer, but that it will cost them $20,000, I assure you that somebody (the parents, Susie's community, or anonymous donors) will pay it. More to the point, as America's population ages, we will see an awful lot of people choosing to live for a few more years (or a few more decades), rather than give their money to their kids. Will there be genomic therapies that will go largely unused because they are priced too high? Probably. But I wouldn't bet against the whole sector based on price concerns.

#Comment made: 2002-02-21 05:33:18+00 by: Dan Lyke

The missing thing is that they won't be paying $200,000 to save little Suzie's life, they'll be paying $100 in the hopes that someday Susie's life might get saved. In fact, it'll be even more indirect than that, they'll be paying $100 to their insurance company. And they'll be complaining about the rates, and how X times more of the GNP is spent on healthcare than was spent a decade ago.

#Comment made: 2002-02-21 05:33:18+00 by: topspin

I don't think the "new biology" will be treated differently from the "old biology."

Sure, folks gag on their insurance premiums, but they pay them. I'm faced regularly with folks balking at $35 co-pays, but they reach for their wallet rather quickly when they learn 6 Maxalt-MLT tablets retail for nearly $100 without their Blue Cross card. In the end, price is usually just something to bitch about.... not something that alters their spending..... IF their insurance company will pay for the treatment.

BUT, insurance companies won't pony up cash for smoking cessation and most other preventative health care. Unless bioinformatics can convince insurance companies of its worth [read: they'll definitely save money], it will fail because it won't be covered.

Ya see, whether they want to admit it or not, a health insurance company has NO interest in saving little Susie from brain cancer. Why should they? They are in the health care cost management business, which is much different than the health care business.

#Comment made: 2002-02-21 05:33:18+00 by: Dan Lyke

I think Topspin explained it better: The forces keeping costs of medicine in-line will continue to operate, the new techniques and technologies won't cause the economics of those to change.