Discover the most talked about and latest scientific content & concepts.

Concept: Cost


Research has shown early and sustained relief with a combination therapy of a corticosteroid (CS) and hyaluronic acid (HA) in knee osteoarthritis (OA) patients. This can be administered via a single injection containing both products or as separate injections. The former may be more expensive when considering only product cost, but the latter incurs the additional costs and time of a second procedure. The purpose of this study was to compare the cost-utility of the single injection with the 2-injection regimen. The results of this analysis revealed that the single-injection formulation of a CS and HA may be cost-effective, assuming a willingness-to-pay of $50 000 per quality-adjusted life year gained, for symptomatic relief of OA symptoms. This treatment may also be more desirable to patients who find injections to be inconvenient or unpleasant.

Concepts: Cost, Costs


Acute kidney injury (AKI) is an increasingly common condition associated with poor health outcomes. Combined with its rising incidence, AKI has emerged as a major public health concern with high human and financial costs. In England, the estimated inpatient costs related to AKI consume 1% of the National Health Service budget. In the United States, AKI is associated with an increase in hospitalization costs that range from $5.4 to $24.0 billion. The most expensive patients are those with AKI of sufficient severity to require dialysis, where cost increases relative to patients without AKI range from $11,016 to $42,077 per hospitalization. Even with these high costs, significant hospital-level variation still exists in the cost of AKI care. In this article, we review the economic consequences of AKI for both the general and critically ill AKI population. Our primary objective is to shed light on an opportunity for hospitals and policymakers to develop new care processes for patients with AKI that have the potential to yield substantial cost savings. By exposing the high rates of death and disability experienced by affected patients and the immense financial burden attributable to AKI, we also hope to motivate scientists and entrepreneurs to pursue a variety of innovative therapeutic strategies to combat AKI in the near term.

Concepts: Hospital, Health, Illness, Costs, Public health, Cost, Economics, Health care


Early HIV diagnosis reduces morbidity, mortality, the probability of onward transmission, and their associated costs, but might increase cost because of earlier initiation of antiretroviral treatment (ART). We investigated this trade-off by estimating the cost-effectiveness of HIV screening in primary care.

Concepts: Cost, Costs, Health care, HIV, Antiretroviral drug, Economics, Health economics, AIDS


Tiered formularies, in which patients pay copays or coinsurance out-of-pocket (OOP), are used to manage costs and encourage more efficient health care resource use. Formulary tiers are typically based on the cost of treatment rather than the medical appropriateness for the patient. Cost sharing may have unintended consequences on treatment adherence and health outcomes. Use of higher-cost, higher-tier medications can be due to a variety of factors, including unsuccessful treatment because of lack of efficacy or side effects, patient clinical or genetic characteristics, patient preferences to avoid potential side effects, or patient preferences based on the route of administration. For example, patients with rheumatoid arthritis may be required to fail low-cost generic treatments before obtaining coverage for a higher-tier tumor necrosis factor alpha inhibitor for which they would have a larger financial burden. Little is known about stakeholders' views on the acceptability of greater patient cost sharing if the individual patient characteristics lead to the higher-cost treatments.

Concepts: Ethics, Pharmacology, Cost, Patient, Health care provider, Illness, Medicine, Tumor necrosis factor-alpha


In Baltimore, MD, as in many cities throughout the USA, overdose rates are on the rise due to both the increase of prescription opioid abuse and that of fentanyl and other synthetic opioids in the drug market. Supervised injection facilities (SIFs) are a widely implemented public health intervention throughout the world, with 97 existing in 11 countries worldwide. Research has documented the public health, social, and economic benefits of SIFs, yet none exist in the USA. The purpose of this study is to model the health and financial costs and benefits of a hypothetical SIF in Baltimore.

Concepts: Cost-benefit analysis, Drug addiction, Cost-utility analysis, Naloxone, Morphine, Cost, Heroin, Opioid


To date, much effort has been expended on making high-performance microscopes through better instrumentation. Recently, it was discovered that physical magnification of specimens was possible, through a technique called expansion microscopy (ExM), raising the question of whether physical magnification, coupled to inexpensive optics, could together match the performance of high-end optical equipment, at a tiny fraction of the price. Here we show that such “hybrid microscopy” methods-combining physical and optical magnifications-can indeed achieve high performance at low cost. By physically magnifying objects, then imaging them on cheap miniature fluorescence microscopes (“mini-microscopes”), it is possible to image at a resolution comparable to that previously attainable only with benchtop microscopes that present costs orders of magnitude higher. We believe that this unprecedented hybrid technology that combines expansion microscopy, based on physical magnification, and mini-microscopy, relying on conventional optics-a process we refer to as Expansion Mini-Microscopy (ExMM)-is a highly promising alternative method for performing cost-effective, high-resolution imaging of biological samples. With further advancement of the technology, we believe that ExMM will find widespread applications for high-resolution imaging particularly in research and healthcare scenarios in undeveloped countries or remote places.

Concepts: Biology, Lens, Microscope, Costs, Microscopy, Cost, Magnification, Optics


There is great interest in the restoration and conservation of coastal habitats for protection from flooding and erosion. This is evidenced by the growing number of analyses and reviews of the effectiveness of habitats as natural defences and increasing funding world-wide for nature-based defences-i.e. restoration projects aimed at coastal protection; yet, there is no synthetic information on what kinds of projects are effective and cost effective for this purpose. This paper addresses two issues critical for designing restoration projects for coastal protection: (i) a synthesis of the costs and benefits of projects designed for coastal protection (nature-based defences) and (ii) analyses of the effectiveness of coastal habitats (natural defences) in reducing wave heights and the biophysical parameters that influence this effectiveness. We (i) analyse data from sixty-nine field measurements in coastal habitats globally and examine measures of effectiveness of mangroves, salt-marshes, coral reefs and seagrass/kelp beds for wave height reduction; (ii) synthesise the costs and coastal protection benefits of fifty-two nature-based defence projects and; (iii) estimate the benefits of each restoration project by combining information on restoration costs with data from nearby field measurements. The analyses of field measurements show that coastal habitats have significant potential for reducing wave heights that varies by habitat and site. In general, coral reefs and salt-marshes have the highest overall potential. Habitat effectiveness is influenced by: a) the ratios of wave height-to-water depth and habitat width-to-wavelength in coral reefs; and b) the ratio of vegetation height-to-water depth in salt-marshes. The comparison of costs of nature-based defence projects and engineering structures show that salt-marshes and mangroves can be two to five times cheaper than a submerged breakwater for wave heights up to half a metre and, within their limits, become more cost effective at greater depths. Nature-based defence projects also report benefits ranging from reductions in storm damage to reductions in coastal structure costs.

Concepts: Critical thinking, Habitat, Coastal and oceanic landforms, Coastal geography, Cost, Coral reef, Ratio, Costs


New hepatitis C virus (HCV) medicines have markedly improved treatment efficacy and regimen tolerability. However, their high prices have limited access, prompting wide debate about fair and affordable prices. This study systematically compared the price and affordability of sofosbuvir and ledipasvir/sofosbuvir across 30 countries to assess affordability to health systems and patients.

Concepts: Hepatitis A, Hepatitis, Efficacy, Price, Cost, Medicine, Hepatitis C virus, Hepatitis C


The research and development costs of 106 randomly selected new drugs were obtained from a survey of 10 pharmaceutical firms. These data were used to estimate the average pre-tax cost of new drug and biologics development. The costs of compounds abandoned during testing were linked to the costs of compounds that obtained marketing approval. The estimated average out-of-pocket cost per approved new compound is $1395 million (2013 dollars). Capitalizing out-of-pocket costs to the point of marketing approval at a real discount rate of 10.5% yields a total pre-approval cost estimate of $2558 million (2013 dollars). When compared to the results of the previous study in this series, total capitalized costs were shown to have increased at an annual rate of 8.5% above general price inflation. Adding an estimate of post-approval R&D costs increases the cost estimate to $2870 million (2013 dollars).

Concepts: Price, Out-of-pocket expenses, Costs, Drug, Reimbursement, Cost, Finance, Pharmacology


Health spending growth in the United States for 2015-25 is projected to average 5.8 percent-1.3 percentage points faster than growth in the gross domestic product-and to represent 20.1 percent of the total economy by 2025. As the initial impacts associated with the Affordable Care Act’s coverage expansions fade, growth in health spending is expected to be influenced by changes in economic growth, faster growth in medical prices, and population aging. Projected national health spending growth, though faster than observed in the recent history, is slower than in the two decades before the recent Great Recession, in part because of trends such as increasing cost sharing in private health insurance plans and various Medicare payment update provisions. In addition, the share of total health expenditures paid for by federal, state, and local governments is projected to increase to 47 percent by 2025.

Concepts: Medicare, Price, Canada Health Act, Health care, United States, Cost, Health insurance, Economics