July 30, 2014
The World Bank News
Prescribing unnecessary medical tests, procedures, hospitalizations and surgeries has become an epidemic worldwide. The rates of caesarian sections, for instance, vary widely. While globally the C section rate in public hospitals is 10 percent, it reaches an alarming 98 percent in Brazil’s private hospitals, and 40 percent in private hospitals worldwide.
Similarly, the treatment for cardiovascular disease shows unwarranted variations. Studies conducted across 23 countries found that the use of angiography in Europe, for example, showed a 13-fold range of variation. In the US alone, unnecessary medical care costs $250-300 billion annually by conservative estimates. Another growing danger is the worldwide overuse of antibiotics that is causing a surge in hard-to-treat bugs.
‘Medical overuse’, as it is known, is emerging as a serious issue in India too, especially as more people can afford to pay for medical interventions due to increasing access to insurance cover.
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