U.S. falls behind world for cost of prescription drugs

The United States easily forks over more money for prescription drugs than any other country in the world. In fact, hearing how much less they pay may make you want to move.

According to data from The Commonwealth Fund, The U.S. spent about $1,011 on prescription drugs per capita.

Switzerland, which came right after the U.S. for the most spending on prescription drugs, spent an average of $783 per capita.

Neighboring Canada spent even less, about $669 per capita.

Sweden spent the least, with $351 per capita.

More important: Americans use fewer prescription drugs compared to Europeans, so Americans are paying much more for the individual pills, and prescriptions, themselves.

Prescription drugs are known to be cheaper in the rest of the world. A major factor for this is price controls and a lack of regulation on the pharmaceutical industry at the state and federal level. This is something State Auditor General Eugene Depasquale addressed last year, when he released a report showing medicare rebates are actually increasing the cost of prescription drugs.

Over the summer, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services proposed a plan to let people import prescription drugs from other countries. Under the "Safe Drug Importation Plan" the drugs would only be imported by pharmacists and manufacturers, or researchers.

HHS would leave the option up to states and manufacturers.

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