CHP blogazine

Is Canada under-investing in medical technology?

Posted on July 12, 2015

Is Canada under-investing in medical technology?

How much does Canada spend on medical devices relative to other countries? 

The cost and use of medical technologies is often blamed for fast rates of growth in healthcare spending. Is this in fact true? If not, then governments could be under-investing in medical technologies that could benefit patients by improving health outcomes. Taxpayers could also benefit from slower overall health spending because medical technologies offer the most efficient way to treat illnesses.

What is the actual impact of medical technology spending on the cost of healthcare in the context of total health spending? How affordable is medical technology spending in Canada relative to other countries? Is the singular focus and significant public investment of scarce resources devoted to containing the costs of medical technology in Canada justified by the facts? A CHPI study annually examines the evidence regarding medical devices.

The most recent edition of the study examined the particular impact of medical device expenditures on total healthcare costs in Canada versus 66 other countries. On average from 2008 to 2013, of 67 countries (incl. Canada) for which data were available, Canada ranked 7th for total health spending per capita, but only 13th for medical device spending per capita and 56th when measuring medical device spending as a percentage of total health spending.

The chart above shows Canada's rank versus a smaller group consisting of its closest economic peers among the OECD top 25 countries (selected by highest GDP per capita in 2013). Of the 25 OECD countries examined, Canada ranked 23rd as a percentage of total health spending in 2013. 

For more data comparing spending on medical devices download the study, Medical devices and healthcare costs in Canada and 66 other countries. 2014 Annual ReportGet the facts and compare the affordability of medical device expenditures relative to GDP and total healthcare costs.