that drugs on other parts of the globe are somehow cheaper than they are here, is gaining popularity. As a result, one can expect to see more candidates that mirror the policies of Bernie Sanders, suggesting that people cross the border to enjoy the cheaper drug costs in places like Canada. All these talks become quite important as the 2020 presidential campaign is gaining pace.
So then, the question begs, are drugs actually cheaper in foreign countries than they are in the US? Well, technically this is true but this is because foreign governments have a single payer system. In many countries, big pharmaceutical companies must argue about pricing with each and every nation so that they may sell their drug. The US has a different system where the companies have to talk to several paying bodies such as insurance companies and the federal government. So unlike other places, the US is not able to negotiate with the actual set price. The fate of this policy either way might be decided following the 2020 presidential campaign.
Drugs however, only make up a small part of the spending the US does on healthcare from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) which indicate that per capita health expenditures, about 14 percent is on drugs. Unsurprisingly, the biggest share if costs in the healthcare system worth $3.5 trillion is the hospitals.
So with the added context, while other nations do have cheaper drug costs, it is due to the structure of the paying system. The effort should surely be on reducing drug costs, but this may be better achived by politicians if they cut down on hospital expenditures.