healthcare budgets
Insights & Trends

The ‘Chronic’ Repercussions of Disease on Healthcare Cost

Chronic diseases are a growing problem and concern for the U.S. According to the CDC, six in 10 American adults have a chronic disease, and four in 10 adults have two or more.

In addition to being the leading cause of death and disability in this country, it is also the leading driver of the $3.5 trillion spent in annual healthcare costs — putting even more stress on already stretched healthcare budgets.

There is no denying the costly impact and repercussions this has on the medical industry. Especially at a time when deductibles are high, the cost of brand-name drugs is increasing, and regulations continue to tighten on medical products and drugs.

So, what does this mean for medical sales reps?

Let’s look at how healthcare budgets affect medical sales and how sales reps should position their products to sell.


Research published by the National Center for Biotechnology Information in February 2020 revealed that the treatment of chronic disease accounts for about 86% of healthcare budgets. Not to mention, patients with chronic diseases are approximately five times more costly than a person without a chronic disease.

The direct costs include prescriptions, procedures, and other health care products and services needed for treatment. Additional costly factors for these patients might include frequent hospitalizations, emergency visits, and greater prescription drug use.

Medical sales rep tip:

The financial burden of chronic disease will directly impact your sales strategy. The rising cost and use of drugs/devices for chronic diseases can deter some providers from prescribing them to patients. Medical sales reps must showcase why their product is worth the price and how it adds value to a patient’s health.

Pro tip: 

Be a patient advocate when it comes to health insurance coverage of medical products and prescription drugs! Patients and providers will feel more confident knowing that their medical sales rep is on their side.


The government has always played a key role in the medical industry. The healthcare system itself is managed and regulated by many federal and state agencies, such as the Department of Health and Human Services, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, etc.

Over the years, the government continues to add more and more regulators. For example, the 2010 Affordable Care Act resulted in the creation of new agencies. And recently, there has been a shift in tightening regulation on medical products and drugs.

However, due to the 2020 global pandemic and an urgency to find a vaccine, regulators are now open to a higher level of risk. For example, a COVID-19 candidate from Moderna is being tested for safety in human volunteers instead of starting with testing its safety and efficacy in animals, according to a Stat News article. 

Medical sales rep tip:

It is crucial that medical sales reps stay up-to-date on regulations and how legislation can impact their medical sales strategies — from testing through manufacturing to marketing. 

Pro tip:

More than ever, providers and patients have greater access to and knowledge of medical breakthroughs and information. As a result, your level of accountability has to increase to be successful!

New products

As chronic diseases become more prevalent, the government and society are shifting focus to preventive care and treatment. As a result, there is increased pressure to develop specialties in selling treatments, care products, and services for chronic conditions.

Medical sales rep tip:

The development of new products is always an opportunity for reps to step up their game! With preventive treatments gaining more momentum, medical sales reps will need to comfortably and confidently adapt to industry changes as new products are being introduced. 

Pro tip: 

Start measuring success based on prevention, not just sales!