Expect prices for facsimile machines to plunge 12% to 15% in 1994, blood products to rise 6% to 9% and sedatives to stay pretty much the same.
So says Joint Purchasing Corp.'s 1994 economic forecast, released last week. The New York-based purchasing group has predicted product prices for the last four decades to help its members set budgets. It represents more than 600 healthcare facilities and about 200 other businesses.
Moderation in pricing is on the upswing because of low interest rates, a still sluggish economy and, of course, the healthcare reform debate, the group said.
Pharmaceutical prices, always a high-profile item, will rise 2% to 5% in 1994, the forecast said. Although the producer price index for pharmaceuticals rose 3% in 1993, hospitals and other institutional buyers saw prices rise 4% to 11%, it said. That's partly because drugmakers fretted over a slew of lawsuits from drug-store chains, which argue that drug companies illegally give better prices to hospitals, health maintenance organizations and mail-order drug firms, it said.
Prices for medical-surgical supplies will climb, in general, from 1% to 5%, according to the forecast.
The report covers a selection of products in eight categories: engineering and housekeeping, food, laboratory, medical-surgical, office equipment and supplies, pharmacy, radiology and services. JPC's analysts gathered data from multiple sources, including business journals.
Inflation will strike hardest at lumber and wood products, where prices will increase 10% to 15%. The best bargain is expected to be computer hardware, the cost of which will fall 20%.