All the research that goes into medicine, such as treating chronic pain, seems to result in costly treatments. Do the researchers ever take into consideration how much a treatment will cost before getting people's hopes up?

It's true that many newer treatments can be expensive. As technology expands and researchers learn how to apply the technology to people, the machinery and knowledge needed can be pricey. That being said, it's important to balance out the cost versus the outcome. If a patient with severe back pain is being treated with a low-cost treatment that isn't relieving enough of the pain to allow him to work or enjoy life, is this cost effective? Could it be better if this person received effective treatment from something that is more costly, but allows him to get back to work and be productive again?

When treatments are costly, research is usually done into the cost effectiveness of the therapy. In some cases, treatments can be expensive at the start but their costs can level off once the initial outlay has been put out.

Malgorzata M. Bala, MD, PhD, et al. Systemic Review of the (Cost)-effectiveness of Spinal Cord Stimulation for People With Failed Back Surgery Syndrome. In Clinical Journal of Pain. November/December 2008. Vol. 24. No. 9. pp. 741-755.

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