Drug Prices Can Take A Surprising Turn When A Poor Country Gets Richer

Friday, July 12, 2019

By Joanne Lu

When a poor country becomes wealthier, it’s a good thing, right?

Not if the country is trying to buy essential medicines.

new report, published by the Center for Global Development in June, finds that as countries move up the ladder of economic development, it becomes harder for government agencies, hospitals and health care companies to buy drugs at reasonable prices.

The report compares the range of prices that seven low- and middle-income countries pay for 25 medicines, including acetaminophen for pain relief, bisoprolol to treat high blood pressure, insulin to treat diabetes and omeprazole to treat heartburn. And when the prices were compared, there was a huge discrepancy. Some countries pay 20 to 30 times as much as other countries for the same drugs.

Photo courtesy of Chris Potter.

Source: NPR (link opens in a new window)

Health Care
global development