Rising Demand for Clinical Laboratory Tests, Combined with Falling Payments Put Pressure on Australian Pathologists

Older, sicker patients require more medical laboratory tests to monitor chronic conditions

Like much of the developed world, Australia faces a rising demand for health services, including pathology and clinical laboratory testing. Pressure on the government to reduce health costs is intense, and that nation’s health officials are wrestling with how to rein in the soaring cost of pathology tests.

Pathologists, health policy wonks, and government health officials all recognize that, in Australia, an aging and increasingly obese population is raising the incidence of chronic conditions. This is particularly true for heart disease and diabetes.


Australia’s Government Launches Review of Clinical Laboratory Testing Fees

Sonic Healthcare stock slides on announcement of Medicare Australia funding changes

In Australia, funding for pathology services and clinical laboratory testing is now undergoing review by the government health service. Last month, when news broke that the Australian Department of Health and Ageing was initiating a review of pathology funding, there was an immediate response by the stock market, as reflected in the lower price for shares of Sonic Healthcare, Ltd. (ASX:SHL), Australia’s largest provider of pathology services and clinical lab testing.