The persistently high prices for most drugs in the United States and the lack of downward trends in them are explained by the fact that the state does not fight, but protects pharmaceutical monopolies and does not regulate prices in any way.
Skyrocketing Drug Prices: What’s Driving Up Costs?
“There is no evidence that policies to curb monopolies and prices are slowing the rate of innovation. On the contrary, they can lead to new, more effective therapies, rather than reward stagnation. Medicines are the most common treatment today and are prohibitively high prices prevent patients and the health care system in general from getting the full benefit from them,” said Aaron Kesselheim from Harvard University (USA).
Kesselheim and his colleagues came to this conclusion after analyzing dozens of scientific papers on pricing, innovation and other problems in various areas of pharmaceuticals related to the price of drugs in the United States and other countries of the world, which have been published over the past 10 years.
As this analysis showed, the prices of essential drugs in the USA rose disproportionately compared to all other developed countries. For example, in the United States, ordinary people, doctors and the state spend on average about $800 a year on the purchase of prescription drugs from doctors, while in most European countries this amount does not exceed $400.
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The prices of medicines turned out to be several times higher in the United States than in other countries of the first world – for example, in Britain, the twenty most popular drugs cost people three times cheaper than in America. The situation is even worse for those drugs that are rarely used or are intended for the treatment of intractable and rare diseases, such as hepatitis C or cystic fibrosis. Prices for them not only do not fall but also rise.
The high prices for drugs, according to doctors, are explained by the fact that in the United States, in contrast to the developed countries of Europe, there are no mechanisms regulating monopolies and pricing that allow health authorities to refuse to promote and distribute those drugs for which the manufacturer sets excessively high prices. As a result, “branded” drugs, which account for only 10% of consumption, “eat up” more than 70% of the money that the state and ordinary Americans spend on drugs.
Besides introducing stricter controls on monopolies, how can this be dealt with? Scientists advise the US authorities to shorten the timeframe for banning the development of generics and to promote their development, as well as to be more strict about granting patents for the exclusive production of new drugs. This will not solve the whole problem, but it will slow down the growing gap between the quality of care in Europe and America.