International Drug Pricing
The American people are paying more for the same drugs than people in other developed countries do. That’s not fair. We are the biggest market and should not pay any more than other rich countries do.
- It is important to recognize that the U.S. market supports most of the global innovation in drug development. It is no coincidence that we have the most vibrant, creative and successful biopharma industry in the world in the U.S. – and that patients in the US benefit hugely from this innovation.
- The U.S. biopharmaceutical industry also is an economic engine, employing nearly 1.7 million American workers with good jobs in communities across the country.
- Today, more than half (57%) of all new drugs come from the United States
- Markets abroad, especially in the richest countries, are much more government controlled. But if the US were to imitate these far more restrictive practices, that would have a adverse impact on the pace of new drug development in the world.
- The economists Joseph Golec and John Vernon estimate that, if the United States had adopted European-style price controls on pharmaceutical drugs from 1986 to 2004, the United States would have produced 117 fewer new medicine compounds for the world.
- Similarly, economists Michael Maloney and Abdulkadir Civan estimate that a 50 percent drop in drug prices in the United States could see the number of drugs in the development pipeline reduced by 14-24 percent, decreasing the hopes of patients seeking new cures and treatments.
- Slowing the pace of innovation will not only impact patients, but will undermine one of the most effective means of bringing drug prices down – competition. Fewer new drugs means less competition for existing drugs for a longer period.
- Finally, the discounts on drugs and other areas of health care spending that other countries may enjoy are not without costs of their own. Survival rates for many types of cancer in the U.S. are significantly higher than for patients in the U.K., largely because the U.K.’s health system restricts access to many therapies in an effort to drive down costs.
Additional Reading & Resources
- National Review; Direct Government Negotiations on Price
- J Manag Care Spec Pharm, 2017 Feb;23(2):247-254.