Intended for healthcare professionals


A fifth of healthcare spending is wasted, says OECD report

BMJ 2017; 356 doi: (Published 13 January 2017) Cite this as: BMJ 2017;356:j215
  1. Matthew Limb
  1. London

Health economists have estimated that a fifth of spending on healthcare in countries of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development is ineffective and have issued a call for action.

They highlighted wide variation between countries in spending on hospital care, drugs, and administration and urged policy makers to use budgets more effectively. “The evidence of waste in healthcare is indisputable. Now is the time to act upon it,” said the OECD’s report.1

Agnès Couffinhal, a senior OECD health economist and the report’s main author, said, “At a time when public budgets are under pressure worldwide, it is alarming that around one fifth of health expenditure makes no or minimal contribution to good health outcomes.”

The study does not calculate how much each of the 35 OECD countries is wasting on healthcare. Rather, it …

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