US prescription prices are much higher than other countries

FeaturedHealth & Fitness

Written by:


Depending on the country of comparison, U.S. residents are paying twice as much, three times as much or even more for their prescription drugs. Research by Rand Corporation has found that U.S. prescription drug prices surpass those in 32 other countries by around 150 percent on average. U.S. patients are even paying triple the price for Rx drugs as Koreans, Portuguese and Australians and 3.5 times as much as Slovakians, Greeks and residents of some of the Baltic countries.


Turkey saw the cheapest prescription drug prices in the comparison, with Americans paying almost eight times as much as residents there. Adjusting the findings for per-capita income explained a portion of the difference in international drug prices, the makers of the report found, but not all.


After the U.S., Mexico, Chile and Switzerland had some of the most expensive prescription drug prices. In the case of all three countries, an inadequate supply of cheaper generic drugs is the reason for comparably high prices. In the case of the U.S., generic prescription prices were about average in an international comparison, highlighting how much more expensive brand name drugs are in the country. Considering only brand-name drugs, Americans are paying 240 percent more for prescriptions than other countries.


Limited competition among U.S. drug companies has been pointed out as one of the reasons explaining the big gap between U.S. Rx spending and the rest of the world. A regulatory apparatus that is focused on safety, but not on affordability, is another. These price checks are present in European countries, explaining comparably low prices in high-income countries like the UK, France or Germany. Likewise, all other developed nations severely restrict the advertisement of prescription drugs, which is another spending source for pharmaceutical companies with the potential to increase prices as well as consumption of branded drugs.


The imminent passage of the new climate and health care reconciliation bill will change the status quo at least for those drugs bought under public health care program Medicare in the U.S. Under the bill, Medicare is allowed to renegotiate drug prices, while out-of-pocket cost will be capped at $2,000 per year. As the legislation is passed in a party line vote under budget reconciliation – thereby allowing Democrats to circumvent the filibuster in the Senate – more sweeping pricing reforms, for example a monthly cap on insulin prices for all Americans, could not be included per Senate rules.


This article originally appeared on and was syndicated by

More from MediaFeed:

8 strategies to lower your prescription drug costs


If you’re charging prescriptions to a credit card or digging for change in your car and couch every month to scrounge up enough money to pay for prescriptions, you’re not alone.


Around seven percent of U.S. adults can’t pay for prescription drugs they need, according to a 2021 Gallup poll. That’s an estimated 18 million people who say they had to go without at least one prescribed medication in the last three months, according to the poll.


If you struggle to pay for your meds or even worse, go without necessary medications, here’s some good news. With a bit of research and a strategy for finding discounts, you can save on prescription drugs.

SPONSORED: Find a Qualified Financial Advisor

1. Finding a qualified financial advisor doesn’t have to be hard. SmartAsset’s free tool matches you with up to 3 fiduciary financial advisors in your area in 5 minutes.

2. Each advisor has been vetted by SmartAsset and is held to a fiduciary standard to act in your best interests. If you’re ready to be matched with local advisors that can help you achieve your financial goals, get started now.


Drug discount cards have been saving consumers money on prescriptions for decades. If your insurance doesn’t cover a prescribed drug or you’re saddled with a high copay, check the price on these drug discount sites to see how much you can save.

  • GoodRX
  • Blink Health
  • SingleCare
  • WellRX

Not up to the research? Ask your pharmacist if they have information on how much you can save with certain prescription discount cards.


Find out: 5 Strategies to Minimize Health Insurance and Medical Costs


Just because you’ve filled your prescriptions at CVS for the last 10 years doesn’t mean that pharmacy is the only game in town. Check prices at other local pharmacies, including your grocery store. If you can save enough to make the switch worthwhile, dole out your prescriptions among more than one pharmacy.



Gligatron / istockphoto


Ask your doctor if the prescribed medication has a generic version to save big bucks. “Generic drugs have exactly the same active ingredients and effects as brand-name drugs, but they can cost 30 percent to 80 percent less,” according to the Food & Drug Administration.


Related: These apps can cut your prescription drug costs by 75%



BCFC / istockphoto


Ordering a 90-day vs. a 30-day supply may save money on certain drugs. Check prices for both quantities before you fill a prescription. You’ll pay more upfront but the savings over three months may be worth it.


Related: Does buying in bulk save money?


Check with local pharmacies for any discount programs they offer. For example, when you pay $20 (or $35 for a family plan) to join Walgreens’ Prescription Savings Club, you can get discounts on more than 8,000 medications. Plus, you can fill 90-day prescriptions on select generic drugs for the price you’d pay for two 30-day prescriptions.


Bonus: Walgreens’ program also provides discounts on prescriptions for your pets.


Find out: 9 Things You’re Probably Paying Too Much for at the Drugstore


Save money by comparing prices at online pharmacies that deliver prescription drugs right to your doorstep. You may save a lot by ordering online.

Plus, you’ll save on gas and time by not having to drive to the pharmacy and wait in line.


Many drug manufacturers offer patient assistance programs if you meet income eligibility requirements. Contact the manufacturer for that pricey drug to find out if you’re eligible for deep discounts on a medication. To get an idea of how patient assistance programs work, visit RxAssist, which lists a comprehensive directory of patient assistance programs.



Weedezign/ istockphoto


It is important to choose your health insurance wisely.  Brokers are trained professionals that can assist you in finding the best plans for your unique needs.  If possible, find a broker that is familiar with plans in your area and that is certified to sell ACA plans.


“The least expensive plan is not always the best or the most cost-effective option.  Sometimes, a silver or gold plan may cost you less due to lower copays on brand name prescriptions. For those on Medicare, always have a broker review your part D (drug) coverage annually.  Even if your monthly premium is not set to increase, there is no way to know that your prescriptions are still covered the same way for the next year unless you do an analysis of this plan,” says Analisa Cleland, an insurance and financial advisor at Coto Insurance.


If you are on a Medicare Advantage plan, have a certified broker review your coverage annually to ensure that your plan is still a good fit for your individual needs.




This article originally appeared on and was syndicated by



stefanamer / istockphoto


Featured Image Credit: