Prescription Drugs And The United States

2310 Words Nov 22nd, 2016 10 Pages
The United States spends more money on prescription drugs than any other industrialized country. In 2013, the United States spent $858 per capita compared to the average of $400 for 19 industrialized countries (Kesselheim, Avorn, & Sarpatwari, 2016). Prescription drug costs have significantly increased in recent years: from 2013 to 2015, prescription drug net spending increased to about 20%, which surpassed a forecast of an 11% increase (Kesselheim et al., 2016). Prescription drugs amount to 17% of total health care costs; prescription drug coverage includes 19% of employer-based insurance benefits (Kesselheim et al., 2016). Within the United States, pharmaceutical companies are protected from competition and have much power in negotiation, unlike countries with national health insurance systems who utilize delegated bodies to negotiate drug costs or reject product coverage due to disproportionately high costs (Kesselheim et al., 2016). There are two types of market protection for pharmaceutical companies: government-granted monopoly rights to their new small-molecule drug products. Pharmaceutical companies have a guaranteed period of five to seven years before the generic form can be sold, and the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office intellectual property right for patent-related exclusivity that can last up to 20 years or more (Kesselheim et al., 2016). The main reasons for increased drug costs include: advanced technology, research, and medicine have all enabled a longer…
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