Pharmaceutical Price Controls in the Oecd Countries

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Pharmaceutical Price Controls in OECD Countries
Implications for U.S. Consumers, Pricing, Research and Development, and Innovation

U.S. Department of Commerce International Trade Administration

The International Trade Administration (ITA) has as its mission the creation of economic opportunity for U.S. workers and firms by promoting international trade, opening foreign markets, ensuring compliance with trade laws and agreements, and supporting U.S. commercial interests at home and abroad. To learn more about the ITA, write to: International Trade Administration, Office of Public Affairs, U.S. Department of Commerce, Washington, DC 20230, or visit the ITA’s Internet site at

Pharmaceutical Price Controls in OECD
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Department of Commerce, International Trade Administration

Executive Summary

Improvements in health care and life sciences are an important source of gains in health and longevity globally. The development of innovative pharmaceutical products plays a critical role in ensuring these continued gains. To encourage the continued development of new drugs, economic incentives are essential. These incentives are principally provided through direct and indirect government funding, intellectual property laws, and other policies that favor innovation. Without such incentives, private corporations, which bring to market the vast majority of new drugs, would be less able to assume the risks and costs necessary to continue their research and development (R&D). In the United States, government action has focused on creating the environment that would best encourage further innovation and yield a constant flow of new and innovative medicines to the market. The goal has been to ensure that consumers would benefit both from technological breakthroughs and the competition that further innovation generates. The United States also relies on a strong generic pharmaceutical industry to create added competitive pressure to lower drug prices. Recent action by the Administration and Congress has accelerated the flow of generic medicines to the market for precisely that reason. By contrast, in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and
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