Cross-Country Comparisons on Drug Prices are Misleading

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Too often, critics greatly exaggerate price differences between the U.S. and other countries to create an erroneous impression that medicines are a major driver of U.S. health care cost growth – ignoring that medicines account for a small share of health spending differences between the U.S. and other countries. They also fail to acknowledge the ramifications of centralized price control policies other countries use to achieve whatever price differences do exist. Many industrialized nations seek cost containment through price controls, which restrict access to medicines and discourage the research and development of new treatments. The U.S. relies on its competitive marketplace to control costs, while encouraging the development of new therapies. Because of the ecosystem that exists in the U.S., patients enjoy access to innovative medicines far earlier than patients in countries with centralized price controls and leads the world in drug discovery and development.