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Infographic – U.S. Drug Prices vs. Other Countries

Chart: US and overseas drug prices

Click on image for full-size view (Statista)

13 Aug. 2022. The U.S. House of Representatives yesterday passed the Inflation Reduction Act that now goes to President Biden for signature. The bill includes provisions calling for the government to negotiate lower prices on some prescription drugs for people on Medicare, the health care plan for older Americans. And the bill calls for limits on drug price increases, as well as a more generous drug benefit under Medicare that includes a $35.00 cap on insulin co-pays.

One of the arguments for more aggressive government action on drug prices in the U.S. is the lower prices paid for many of the same drugs overseas. Rand Corporation last year published a study comparing U.S. prescription drug prices to 32 other countries, and found U.S. residents pay on average 190 percent of the price paid elsewhere in the world. Earlier this week, the business research company Statista published a chart with data from the Rand report showing U.S. drug prices compared to eight other countries.

The displayed results show people in the U.S. paying 170 percent of the prices for drugs that residents of Mexico pay, and 218 percent of prices paid by Canadian residents. The gap grows even larger in Europe, where Americans pay 225 to 258 percent of prices paid in Germany, U.K., and France, and more than three times the prices paid in South Korea and Slovakia. And compared to Turkey, Americans pay nearly eight times the price for their drugs.

Rand Corp. used data on drug prices from 2018 that include a broad range of brand-name prescription drugs, unbranded generics, and biologics. The authors say they adjusted the prices to account for differences between list prices of manufacturers and net prices after rebates to bulk buyers and distributors. The largest differences between U.S. and overseas drug prices were found in brand-name prescription drugs, but U.S. residents pay lower prices for unbranded generics, 84 percent on average, of prices paid by residents in other countries.

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