Medical devices accounted for about 6 percent of the total U.S. health spending in 2009, barely changed from 10 years earlier and slightly higher than two decades ago, according to an industry report.
Device prices also have risen more slowly than for prescription drugs and other medical products, according to the study sponsored by the Advanced Medical Technology Association, or AdvaMed. The group represents some 400 companies whose products range from bandages to heart pacemakers, and is trying to fend off a U.S. tax increase.
Spending on medical devices grew by the same proportion over that time, reaching $147 billion in 2009, according to the report released on Thursday.
Medical devices accounted for 5.3 percent of total U.S. health spending in 1989, 6 percent in 1999 and 5.9 percent in 2009, the report said.
"What we have found is that medical device prices have not been a driver of (national health expenditure)," said Roland King, one of the researchers and former chief Medicare actuary.
From 1989 to 2009, medical device prices grew 1 percent a year, the report said, compared to the annual growth of 2.8 percent in the consumer price index (CPI), widely used to gauge inflation, and a 4.7 percent rise of CPI for medical care.
AdvaMed is seeking to roll back taxes on medical device companies that were enacted under last year's healthcare overhaul and are set to go into effect in 2013. The rising cost of healthcare is also high on the political radar as lawmakers try to reach a deal to reduce the deficit.
AdvaMed Executive Vice President Ann-Marie Lynch attributed the lag in price increases for medical devices to industry competition.