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The Snoring & Sleep Apnoea Forums

Why are CPAP machines so expensive?

Share your experiences with CPAP, request help, find out the latest developments ....
Xmarmite

Why are CPAP machines so expensive?

Post by Xmarmite » Thu Nov 16, 2006 2:40 am

I have been using a CPAP machine from the NHS for the past 4 years
I was after a second CPAP machine to make things easier as I travel and stay constantly between the South Coast and Scotland. What a surprise when I called Respironics in the UK! I was told that the package including the masks etc would be around £500.00 all in. Why do they charge so much for what is essentially a pump, some tubing and a gel mask? Anyone know where I can buy a CPAP machine at a "FAIR" price?

It is only when you begin to purchase medical equipment do you realise that the Health service in the UK is being bled to death by the cartel of Medical Supplies and Pharmaceutical companies.

Please do not tell me that the profits are needed for research and development. Just take a drive over the elevated section of the M4 in London and question for yourselves how much research goes on at the new sleek Smith Kline offices.

Also look at the balance sheets for Respironics!!! (http://library.corporate-ir.net/library ... 006_ar.pdf) in case anyone in interested in a company with a turnover of over 1 billion dollars! Most of it bled out of people that need medical equipment.

Apologies if I have offended anyone in this forum but I am VERY angry and feel that we are being exploited and not helped!

Bill Bolton

Re: Why are CPAP machines so expensive?

Post by Bill Bolton » Fri Nov 17, 2006 6:12 am

Why do they charge so much for what is essentially a pump, some tubing and a gel mask?

Well then, if you can commercially design, manufacture, distribute and support that for less, you are on your way to a fortune!

Whatever you might think about current prices, they have fallen dramatically since CPAP was first introduced, and the functionality has also increased significantly at the same time.

Cheers,

Bill

Xmarmite

Post by Xmarmite » Mon Nov 20, 2006 1:30 pm

Thanks Bill for your comment s but I think you misunderstand what I am saying here. Yes of course there will be R&D costs to recover but understand that about 6% of the revenue generated by Resmed is diverted to their research and development.


There is also a post on this forum under the heading “It's time to speak out”. The main premise of this discussion is that we should be writing to our MP’s to increase the amount of funding to the NHS etc. I’m afraid that most of you have got it all wrong. It is irrelevant how much money is to be ploughed into the NHS. The Medical supplies companies will just increase prices over time and expect the NHS to pay their inflated new pricing. There is no possible justification for charging around $1000 to manufacture and bring to the market a CPAP machine. The Med-Supplies and Pharma companies see what budget is available to the NHS and price their products accordingly. Put simply if the budget was doubled for CPAP machines we would not see double the amount of CPAPS being purchased as the cost of the machines will just increase over the following years and guess what – we are back at the beginning again. The only winners here are the Pharma and Med-Supplies companies. This is a Cartel and we should be attacking the Cartel not the Government that is being forced to pay inflated prices.

We should be petitioning is the Pharma and Med-Supplies manufacturers to price their products “fairly”. The result will be affordable pricing to the NHS – the sick will benefit, the Pharma and Med-Supplies will benefit in the longer term and EVERYONE wins.

Tony The Busman

Post by Tony The Busman » Mon Nov 20, 2006 8:43 pm

Xmarmite,

It must be hard being perfect!

I was one of the people who contributed to the debate under the "Its time to speak out" post and I know that the main thrust of my argument and the subsequent replies to my post where all about putting pressure on NICE to add CPAP to its list of approved treatments.

If you want to know the latest you may want to look under the "SATA Day" post to see that this pressure is paying off as they are currently carrying out a clinical review into CPAP treatment. If NICE do add this to their list of approved treatments then all health trusts will be legally obliged to provide this treatment for anyone with a clinical need for it (regardless of the cost). This rather negates your comments regarding the usefulness of putting pressure on the MP's and government bodies.

As to your comments re pricing and cartels, perhaps an economics lesson is in order. The NHS trusts get a discount on the normal retail price as they can buy in bulk and so benefit from economies of scale. Monopoly suppliers do not tend to provide bulk discounts, especially when they are operating in a price fixing cartel, where the supply of the product will be restricted to keep the price artifically high.

However, even more crucially they are operating in a highly contestible market, with many suppliers and the opportunity for competitors to come in and undercut them if they charge monopoly prices.

Given that the primary purpose of a business is to make a profit, then they will price their products accordingly and that is why the prices have steadily come down. Remeber if you don't like the price quoted by one supplier you can always go elsewhere. That is what a market economy is all about.

The fact that it is a delicate piece of electronics with the ability to capture large amounts of valuable data that can be downloaded onto a PC by your sleep technician or consultant seems to have escaped your notice. I would want to have this data at my disposal to know that my consultant could ensure that I was getting the best possible treatment.

I know that you are angry about your situation, but you cannot blame the manaufacturers for the fact that the NHS does not consider OSA as a priority. It really does come down to persuading the NHS to take the condition seriously and to fund it's treatment accordingly.

More funding and a change in attitude will lead to the changes you want as more manufacturers will be chasing a potentially larger market, so prices will come down.

That looks like a pretty good solution to me.

Bill Bolton

Post by Bill Bolton » Mon Nov 20, 2006 11:22 pm

There is no possible justification for charging around $1000 to manufacture and bring to the market a CPAP machine. The Med-Supplies and Pharma companies see what budget is available to the NHS and price their products accordingly.

Again, if you think its unjustified, you "manufacture and bring to the market a CPAP machine" for less and the whole world will beat a path to your door.

The cost of CPAP kit is quite similar in most markets around the world and there is no shortage of suppliers to maintain competition in the market. The increases and functionality and falls in price which I previously mentioned are ample hard evidence that there is a competitive market in action.
This is a Cartel and we should be attacking the Cartel not the Government that is being forced to pay inflated prices.

You have not produced a single piece of hard evidence to support your conspiracy theory. :roll:

bartman

Post by bartman » Tue Nov 21, 2006 2:47 am

Bill Bolton wrote: The cost of CPAP kit is quite similar in most markets around the world and there is no shortage of suppliers to maintain competition in the market. The increases and functionality and falls in price which I previously mentioned are ample hard evidence that there is a competitive market in action.


I think that fact alone has me less inclined to believe there is a cartel in operation around the cost of the machines. Different NHS trusts seem to choose different suppliers, presumably based on ability to negotiate contracts and pricing?

My experience (and reading similar experiences here) seems the main problem in NHS funding is awareness and diagnosis of the condition as well as recognition of it's extent. Taking that priority on first might be the best step to more resources, then later on if the suppliers of the resources seem the biggest remaining barrier we can turn attention to that.

bartman

Post by bartman » Tue Nov 21, 2006 2:54 am

I might add X, that I too now aspire to eventually purchase a 2nd CPAP machine.

But with the aim that it's a (more expensive) autoset model, and so that I can return my NHS issue machine back to the trust so that they can help reduce the wait for OSA treatment for others. Might take me my first four years on CPAP to plan and put enough money away for it...

glen

Post by glen » Tue Nov 21, 2006 10:49 am

My sleep technician told me that they pay around £300 for each machine worth a potential £500+ so obviously they (NHS) get decent bulk discounts. Bearing in mind it is a treatment with very little further expenditure (aside from masks and filters) I don't think the cost to the NHS is bad at all, nor the cost to the patient who has to buy their own.

Bogof

Re: Why are CPAP machines so expensive?

Post by Bogof » Tue Apr 17, 2007 5:46 pm

Also note they are a 'critical care' device so it's not quite like your pressure washer or fish tank air pump. These machines are designed to not fail, ideally never, because a life is at risk. There's also a fair bit of technology involved especially when you look at the C-Flex deals.

IMO £300 to £500 to get your life back isn't all that expensive. Even more so for those who 'choose' to be a tad heavy and develop OSA because of their lifestyle. But yeah, cheaper is better of course so bring on some competition!

Guest

Re: Why are CPAP machines so expensive?

Post by Guest » Sun Jun 10, 2007 4:55 pm

Sorry to interupt on your discussion. Especially when it has been over a while but i have been in hospital and unable to see this.

I was started on cpap 8 weeks ago and I am as you put it a tad heavy, but under no means was it a choice. It is due to illness. It would never be a choice. You should probably think more. Think about all the people with serious, dangerous, life threatning lung diseases, conditions, illnesses, who require daily high dose steroids. those people who put on alot of weight, who then may require cpap. Think about them and the people you hurt with your comments. What about the people with eating disorders who can't help it too.

Sorry but i was very very upset by your comments. I came on here for support. hm

Guest

Re: Why are CPAP machines so expensive?

Post by Guest » Wed Jun 13, 2007 2:07 pm

Bogof wrote: IMO £300 to £500 to get your life back isn't all that expensive. Even more so for those who 'choose' to be a tad heavy and develop OSA because of their lifestyle. But yeah, cheaper is better of course so bring on some competition!


I don't "choose" to be a tad heavy, and I find your comment a little insulting! I follow a varied healthy diet, exercise almost daily and have just passed my level 1 Judo instructors exam, but still i am unable to lose weight. I have had tests for thyroid problems, diabetes and my cholestrol levels are good, the doctors do not seem to want to help, they just say if all else fails we can go the drugs route. I for one do not want to rely on drugs for weight loss, I just keep working hard at it and waiting to see the results. I am sure that there are many OSA sufferers like myself out there.

If you wish to slate people, please do not do it here!!

This forum is supposed to provide support for people, not make them feel worse than they already do.

MadMax

Re: Why are CPAP machines so expensive?

Post by MadMax » Wed Jun 13, 2007 10:22 pm

I agree £500 is not a great deal to have to fork out to get your life back.

And as for the previous 2 posts well all I can say is .... ^)!""$)_+_&!!

Which loosely translated means Bogof has made the simple connection between obesity and OSA. One which many people have difficulty facing up to, and doing something about.

So I dont see his comments as judgemental simply a statement of fact. A little less sensitivity and a more pro-active approach is perhaps in order.

fester61

Re: Why are CPAP machines so expensive?

Post by fester61 » Thu Jun 14, 2007 4:33 pm

If the connection is simple then simply losing weight should cure it, but it doesn't always does it? or is that 'simple' like in not thinking or understanding an issue properly before commenting?

MadMax

Post by MadMax » Thu Jun 14, 2007 7:20 pm

fester61 wrote: If the connection is simple then simply losing weight should cure it, but it doesn't always does it? or is that 'simple' like in not thinking or understanding an issue properly before commenting?


Simple as in it is generally recognised that being overweight is a significant contributory factor to the condition known as OSA. I am sorry but I cant make it any simpler than that. But is that simple enough for you, or do you wish to further split hairs ? Or do you possibly believe that smoking doesn't kill and that the Earth is also flat, in which we can debate the point till the end of time ?

Meatcruncher

Re: Why are CPAP machines so expensive?

Post by Meatcruncher » Thu Jun 14, 2007 8:42 pm

Realiity check please!

OSA and Obesity can be related - but not always. Some OSA sufferers are NOT 0bese. Some Obese people do NOT suffer OSA. Many Obese people do suffer OSA and would benefit from losing weight (both for OSA and other health reasons).
However, "losing weight" is easily said and very, VERY, VERY hard to do. I do not think that any obese person "chooses" to be that way - it is not a lifestyle choice.

I admit I am biased - I am morbidly obese, have been a fat b*$&^!d all my life, have suffered OSA for probably 30 + years and have repeatedly tried (and failed) to lose weight permanently, becoming a yo-yo dieter, always putting on more than I lost each time I stop dieting, even when eating "normally" rather than excessively. I am now waiting for a gastric bypass on the NHS - hopefully in November - but have been warned that it might well NOT cure my OSA!

Mike

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