New Technology and Medical Costs

There is widespread agreement that new technology is a substantial cause of increased health care costs.  Of course, new technology brings us good things (like Gleevac for patients with certain types of previously-fatal leukemia, and laparoscopic devices to allow for minimally invasive therapy) and things that are not so good (like bone marrow transplantation for metastatic breast cancer - which looked like it would be helpful, but wasn't when a study was belatedly completed.

The 10/27 New York Times has an excellent article by Reed Abelson about FDA approval of medical devices.  The FDA approves devices after only brief trials, and longer term data on outcomes is almost always lacking.  Furthermore, the FDA is not concerned with "cost effectiveness" for either devices or drugs.  This issue is compounded when Medicare sets high prices for new (unproven) innovation, which speeds dissemination of this innovation.