Numerous people go to their doctors for a regular check-up. Do you ever expect to get prescribed a string of expensive tests that you do not need? According to a new study the New York Times looked into, many people are paying for expensive and unnecessary tests and hospitals are turning a profit.
Doctors are relying more and more on expensive urine tests to ensure that their patients are not taking prescription drugs according to The Times. The article states that the result of this is that laboratories are making a major profit. In 1990 they had sales of about 800 million but in 2013 their sales are expected to reach about two billion dollars.
Most patients have no idea they are being duped into extra expensive testing that they do not need. The Times writes that the accuracy of these expensive urine screens is questionable and then on top of that it is argued that doctors and other companies exploit the testing boom.
The study analyzed by The Times shows that most of these tests fail to even detect narcotics. There are two basic types of urine tests used and they vary in cost. The first type of test is the qualitative test which often has a lot of false positives showing that there are narcotics in use when there really are not. Qualitative tests have become much more popular over the years according to the study’s finding. The second type of test is called the quantitative test and it is very expensive. It is generally used for pain patients. Annual quantitative testing can cost thousands of dollars.
Many patients have started filing cases against companies who are believed to be giving kickbacks to physicians for prescribing extra testing. For example in 2010 Ameritox paid $16.4 million dollars to settle charges that it had paid kickbacks to physicians who sent results to laboratories according to The Times. Also in 2012 Calloway Laboratories paid $20 million dollars to settle a suit where they were also being accused of sending cash to laboratories in exchange for results.