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US prescription drugs most expensive in world, analysis shows

Published on 08/05/19 at 10:39am

Brand name prescription drugs cost on average 4.3 times more in the United States than in the UK, according to research from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

The findings, published in the journal Health Affairs, reveal that US brand name prescription drugs are the most highly priced in the world.

Meanwhile the research found that the longer drugs had been on the market, the more expensive they were in comparison to when they were sold in other countries.

“Every year we pay more for brand-name drugs and other countries pay less for the same drugs,” said Dr Gerard Anderson, professor in the Bloomberg School’s Department of Health Policy and Management and the paper’s senior author.

The study compared the prices patients paid in the US for 79 brand name medicines in comparison to the prices paid in the UK, Japan and the province of Ontario.

The analysis found that before rebates, drug prices in the US were 4.3 times higher than in the UK, 3.8 times higher than in Japan and 3.4 times higher than in Ontario.

After rebates people in the US paid 3.6 times more than those in the UK, 3.2 times more than those in Japan and 4.1 times more than those in Ontario.

The findings showed significant variation between different drugs. While some drugs were only 30% more expensive in the US, others were 7000% more expensive.

 While, diabetes drugs were shown to be nine-times more expensive in the US than in the UK, injectables were found to be 11.5 times more expensive in the US than in the UK.

Louis Goss

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