How 3D Printing Could Bend the Cost Curve in Healthcare

Even as people around the globe enjoy longer, healthier and more productive lives, the rising cost of healthcare threatens to impede such progress.

This is particularly troubling in the United States as Baby Boomers approaching retirement place a greater strain on an overburdened healthcare system.

Policymakers and medical leaders are scrambling for innovative ways to slow expenses, bracing for a demographic shift that will become arguably the central story in healthcare in the years ahead.

A great equalizer

However, one of the great equalizers could come in the form of another disruptive technology – 3D printing. Cost is at the center of the debate on 3D printing, with skeptics questioning whether 3D printers are too expensive to find a mainstream audience.

But it’s equally as important to examine how additive manufacturing could bend the cost curve in a number of industries, especially healthcare. It’s expensive to bring new drugs to market, and developing cutting-edge technologies for evolving threats requires significant investment.

Additive manufacturing would bring newfound efficiency to the healthcare supply chain, both at the front and back ends. Right now, the pharmaceutical industry spends more than $50 billion annually on research and development.

By John Menna | Longitudes (UPS)

Image Credit: Lindsay France, Cornell University

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