Discovery fears cost of drugs is unsustainable

2012-07-18 08:31

Medical aid Discovery Health believes the cost of drugs might be unsustainable as the demand for specialised medicine is escalating rapidly.

Discovery Health told Cape Times the increase in the cost of biologics was well above the general healthcare inflation rate.

Biologics, used to treat conditions like cancer and multiple sclerosis, are produced using live organisms, some extracted from animals or humans.

Between 1990 and 2010, the number of biotech drugs in South Africa increased from 10 to 210.

According to the report, Discovery Health increased its spend on these specialised drugs by 28.5%, well in excess of the 7.5% increase in the cost of claims.

It estimated that biologics would account for almost half of total chronic medication spend by 2016, but only 10% of people requiring chronic treatment would be able to afford them.

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