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Are US Drug Prices Exorbitant?

The drug prices American patients pay are much higher than elsewhere in the world. Are they being gouged?

Americans are paying more for medicines than people anywhere else in the world. That’s the conclusion from an analysis commissioned by the news agency Reuters. Investigators at the University of Liverpool compared drug prices in the U.S. to those in Europe, South America and India.

How Much Higher Are US Drug Prices?

Americans pay three times more, on average, than citizens in the U.K. Drug prices here are six times higher than in Brazil and 16 times higher than in India.

Hefty Price Rise for an Old Drug Spotlighted the Problem:

The differential was recently highlighted by the attention garnered by Turing Pharmaceuticals and its 5,000 percent increase in the price of Daraprim, a drug for treating a potentially deadly condition called toxoplasmosis. The cost in the U.S. went from $13.50 a pill to $750 a pill. According to Reuters, the company that developed the drug (GlaxoSmithKline) charges 66 cents a tablet in the U.K. Presumably they are breaking even at least.

Drug prices in America have soared 127 percent for popular brand name products since 2008. This has not been an era of high inflation for other products. During that same time period, European governments have limited increases in drug prices by arm-wrestling pharmaceutical manufacturers into controlling prices.

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About the Author
Joe Graedon is a pharmacologist who has dedicated his career to making drug information understandable to consumers. His best-selling book, The People’s Pharmacy, was published in 1976 and led to a syndicated newspaper column, syndicated public radio show and web site. In 2006, Long Island University awarded him an honorary doctorate as “one of the country's leading drug experts for the consumer.”.
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