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Prescription drug prices: How the United States compares to other developed nations – a slideshow


Americans pay more, but that could change when Medicare begins negotiating prices.

If your patients are complaining about high drug prices around the United States, they have good reason.

Patients in the United States pay more for brand name prescription medications than patients in other countries, according to data compiled by The Commonwealth Fund. American drug prices are almost three times the average of other member nations of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, based on 2022 prices.

The U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has new authority to negotiate prices of some drugs for Medicare, as allowed in the federal Inflation Reduction Act of 2022.

Bargaining will start next month on the first 10 drugs for prices to take effect in 2026. The drugs were selected because they make up a significant portion of spending in Medicare Part D, the prescription drug program of Medicare.

Until then, just how do prices in the United States compare to other countries?

This slideshow presents four data points:

  • The 10 selected drugs
  • The estimated net price per unit in the United States
  • The list retail price per unit of the country with the next highest price
  • The list retail price per unit of the country where the drug is cheapest

Data were compiled by The Commonwealth Fund in the report, “How Prices for the First 10 Drugs Up for U.S. Medicare Price Negotiations Compare Internationally.”

Spoiler alert: Switzerland has the second-highest prices for most of the drugs, but American prices generally remain higher, according to The Commonwealth Fund

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