If you are a physician looking to purchase a PRP kit, at some point – if not immediately, you are going to be considering the cost. PRP kits can range in price anywhere from $80 – $300. So, then it’s simple right, go find the $80 kit and call it a day. Without thinking about it too deeply you can tell that’s probably wrong. Why though? In this article we are going to discuss a conceptual framework to help you make a more informed decision about purchasing PRP kits.
Have you ever been to a grocery store?
Many years ago, the only thing displayed was the absolute price of the item. If you had two jars of peanut butter right next to each other of different sizes, you could only compare the absolute price and might assume the smaller one was cheaper due to its absolute price. Eventually regulators, to increase consumer awareness, required stores to display unit prices. Now when you are looking at those two jars of peanut butter you see that although the absolute price of the smaller jar is lower, you are paying much more on a per oz or unit basis. Suddenly the cheapest jar of peanut butter isn’t cheap at all! I’m sure by now you see where I’m going with this, but to put a fine point on it – The cheapest PRP kits aren’t cheap at all!
What is “per unit” for PRP?
We should start by differentiating a PRP kit from the product that it creates, Platelet-Rich-Plasma. PRP kits are simply medical devices, they have no real intrinsic value. The components are generally all made from the same types of plastic that have been sterilized. It’s not as if there are some made from aluminum and others out of gold and from this you can derive fair value to make a comparison. Instead, you need to think about a PRP kit like a piece of technology, where value is derived from how well that technology performs. The way to do this is to examine the output of this technology. The best way to do this is to create a unit of PRP – 1 billion platelets/mL. With this per unit idea we can now compare the price of PRP kits in a fair value manner.
If you read our article regarding the differences between dual spin and single spin PRP you understand the concentration capabilities of these two protocols are quite different. For this example, we will use hypothetical concentrations between a dual spin and single spin kit. For actual comparison it is possible to find studies showing real world concentration capabilities of different PRP kits.
We will assume a whole blood platelet count of 250,000,000 plt/mL. We will assume a 1.7x concentration capability for single spin and a 6x concentration for dual. The single spin kit will be 15 mL whole blood draw while the dual spin kit will be a 60 mL whole blood draw – each with 8cc final PRP outputs. Finally, we will assume the single spin PRP kit costs $115 and the dual spin PRP kit costs $215.
Single Spin price per unit
Total platelets captured = 2.5×10^8 x 1.7 x 8 = 3.4×10^9.
Cost of the kit = $115
Price Per Unit = 115/3.4 = $33.82 per billion platelets
Dual Spin price per unit
Total platelets captured = 2.5×10^8 x 6 x 8 = 12×10^9
Cost of the kit = $215
Price Per Unit = 215/12 = $17.91 per billion platelets
As you can see the situation changes when you switch from comparing the absolute price of a PRP kit to comparing the cost to extract 1 billion platelets from the sample of whole blood. Obviously, the price is not the only comparison to make. There are many factors that go into choosing a quality PRP system. That said, price is one of the easiest factors to manipulate. There is no governing body that decides if a manufacturer can call a medical device that separates blood into its components a “PRP kit”. Therefore, you as the purchaser must do your due diligence. When you see the price, think about the platelets not the plastic.