Why Are Prescription Drugs More Expensive in the U.S. than in Other Countries?

dollar bills and prescription bottles
Marie Beaugureau
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In 2015, Americans spent $1,200 per capita on prescription medications, the highest rate in the world. In the U.S. a 30-day prescription to Xarelto (used to treat blood clots) costs $292, on average – where that same prescription costs just $126 in the UK, $102 in Switzerland, and just $48 in South Africa, according to a 2016 survey by the International Federation of Health Plans. A 28-day supply of Humira, used for Crohn’s disease and rheumatoid arthritis, costs a whopping $2,669 in the US – but just $822 in Switzerland and $1,362 in the UK.

Just why are prescription drug prices so high in the U.S compared to other countries? There are four main reasons.   

If drug prices are making a dent in your wallet, there are ways to save:

Special note: Considering crossing the border for your medications? Just know that it is illegal to import pharmaceuticals even for personal use.  

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