(HealthDay News) — In 2018, prices for drugs in the United States were 256% higher than those in 32 Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) comparison countries, according to a report published online by the RAND Corporation.

Andrew W. Mulcahy, PhD, from the RAND Corporation in Santa Monica, California, and colleagues compared 2018 drug prices in the United States to those in 32 OECD countries. The prices for several subsets of drugs were calculated and compared.

The researchers found that when analyzing data for all prescription drugs available in the United States and comparison countries in 2018, US prices for drugs were 256% higher than those in the comparison countries combined. For brand-name originator drugs, US prices were even higher than those in comparison countries (344% higher) but were lower than those in comparison countries for unbranded generic drugs (U.S. prices were 84% of those in comparison countries). Unbranded generics represented 84 and 35% of volume in the United States and other countries, respectively. A consistent pattern of considerably higher overall drug prices was seen in the United States versus comparison countries, although the magnitude was altered with different methodological decisions and assumptions.

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“Brand-name drugs are the primary driver of the higher prescription drug prices in the US,” Mulcahy said in a statement. “We found consistently high U.S. brand name prices regardless of our methodological decisions.”


Mulcahy AW, Whaley CM, Tebeka MGet al. International prescription drug price comparisons. Rand Corporation.