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Controlling Health Care Costs

Brand-Name Drug Prices: The Key Driver of High Pharmaceutical Spending in the U.S.

An International Comparison of Prescription Drug Spending and Costs

Aerial view of brightly colored pill boxes for days of the week open with pills in each box

High U.S. drug prices are a financial strain for patients, employers, and state and federal governments. In the following charts, we present the findings from a number of studies on prescription drug costs and spending in the United States with other high-income countries to reveal the main culprit: high U.S. prices for brand-name drugs.

The data for this chartpack come from the following sources: the Commonwealth Fund’s 2020 International Health Policy Survey; 1980–2020 pharmaceutical spending data from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD); 2020 individual-level administrative claims or registry data compiled by the International Collaborative on Costs, Outcomes, and Needs in Care (ICCONIC); and IQVIA’s MIDAS database for 33 OECD member countries for 2018.

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Learn more about the root causes of high drug prices and what we can do about them.

See these resources:

Publication Details

Date

Contact

Lovisa Gustafsson, Vice President, Controlling Health Care Costs, The Commonwealth Fund

[email protected]

Citation

Aimee Cicchiello and Lovisa Gustafsson, “Brand-Name Drug Prices: The Key Driver of High Pharmaceutical Spending in the U.S. — An International Comparison of Prescription Drug Spending and Costs,” chartpack, Commonwealth Fund, Nov. 2021. https://doi.org/10.26099/dnr4-f655