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The Price of Innovation

By Daniel Foster25 Oct 2023

Innovation can be expensive. The first wheels were probably hand-carved from stone or wood, so it cost tremendous time and effort to go from dragging a cart down the street to rolling it. Between 1960 and 1973, NASA spent 28 billion dollars on the Apollo program to get us to the moon. We stuck a flag in the dirt and left, but the project yielded innovations that became pillars of the modern world, from integrated circuits to LASIK to the insulin pump.

Thomas Edison, the consummate innovator, refused the surgery that would have saved his hearing because he said being deaf made it easier to concentrate.

Perhaps that last example seems more about choice than expense… but it does showcases the paramount innovative quality: dedication despite the cost.

A few dedicated members of Congress are calling into question the Medicare bundled payment rate for ESRD care. They are concerned that it does not sufficiently incentivize innovative drugs and treatments.

In a recent letter to the CMS Administrator, Chiquita Brooks-LaSure, they wrote “… we are encouraged that the calendar year 2024 end-stage renal disease (ESRD) prospective payment system rule includes new payments for innovative drugs. However, as you work to finalize the rule, we wish to highlight concerns from across the kidney stakeholder community—including patients, providers, and innovators—that the proposal does not sufficiently reimburse for new, innovative products.”

Simply, there are floating worries that the current methods of assessing payments may discourage the development of new therapies and drugs in favor of “more of the same.” At Transonic, we’re celebrating our 40th anniversary, so we understand that tradition has its place. But we also understand the cost of innovation, and how to integrate the two. For example, we maintain availability of probe sizes that have only sold a handful of units since their inception years ago. Why continue to offer them? Because when they are needed for surgery, there is no better-fit tool for the job. We supply what the patients and physicians need (whether it requires new or innovation or old), and we encourage lawmakers to do the same.

When it comes to patient life and health, innovation is always worth the price.

Thanks for reading,


                Transonic Systems Inc.

                                         The Measure of Better Results