The of this article. In order toThe of this article. In order to

The purpose of “Paying for Prescription Drugs
Around the World: Why Is the U.S. an Outlier?”1 is to analyze U.S. spending
in regard to pharmaceuticals and compare these statistics to nine other
countries with similar economies. Furthermore, this article seeks to determine
the impact of pharmaceutical pricing on patients themselves via purchasing trends
over the past several years. The literature review supported the undertaking of
this study by pointing out that the U.S. trumps all other countries in total
healthcare spending. Pharmaceutical spending falls under this umbrella, which
is worthy of further exploration.

There were no participants
included in this article, as raw data served as the main source, or subject of comparison.

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Thus, there are no identifiable dependent
variables. The “Organisation for Economic Co-operation
and Development (OECD) and the 2016 Commonwealth Fund International Health
Policy Survey,”1 provided the majority of the information in this
article, among several other databases. The OECD was chosen as a viable source
of information, as it obtains healthcare data on a yearly-basis, derived from the
highest income countries. While OECD’s data was collected from 34 countries,
this article narrowed it down to the top ten countries with the highest income,
including the U.S. All data incorporated was from 2013 or later. Eight total graphs
were included, with many being sourced from the OECD or Commonwealth Fund. In order
to best evaluate countries and their spending habits, currency was made uniform
by being converted to U.S. dollars. Furthermore, when the article referenced
total pharmaceutical spending, it referred to net costs. Data excluded from
this article consisted of pharmaceutical use and spending statistics obtained from
hospitals or any other inpatient or outpatient facility. Thus, the dollar
amounts reported in this article reflect the retail price of medications only.

The results were three-fold, as indicated by the
purpose of this article. In order to compare the U.S. to other countries, a
line graph was included which depicted the trend in pharmaceutical spending per
captia from 1980 to 2015. In comparing the U.S. to the nine other countries
noted in this article, the graph showed the enormous disparity- the U.S. simply
spends more, totaling $1,000 per captia. This is notable, seeing as the second
runner up, Switzerland, spends around $780 per capita, with the lowest, Sweden,
coming in at $350 per capita. In fact, another data set from the OECD in 2015
found that the U.S.’s spending is “30 percent to 190 percent higher than
in the other nine countries.”1 

Several postulations for this increased spending
were identified, such as the U.S.’s push towards generic medications. Although
generic medications are usually equated with affordability, “20 percent of
U.S. generics underwent a rapid price increase between 2010 and 2015.”1
With most Americans taking more than one medication per day, this rise in cost
may significantly contribute to U.S. total spending. Another reason to explain
for this spending gap is the fact that the U.S. is the only country out of the
sample group to not have universal healthcare, meaning a greater population of
citizens pay out-of-pocket, or simply an additional amount of money not covered
by insurance for medicine. The remaining nine countries with universal
healthcare purport a “more centralized process for procuring pharmaceuticals
and determining coverage.”1

The last facet of the results includes a line graph
showing the percent of Americans who did not fill their medications due to
cost, from 2003 to 2016. This line graph peaks at 42% in 2007, and has since dropped
to to 24% in 2016. The article attributes this steady decline to the Affordable
Care Act, which not only insured millions of lower-income Americans, but made
medications accessible for those who have multiple, chronic illness.

Seeing as the nature of this article was not a
study or experiment, there were no identified limitations. However, this
article was rather limited in evaluating data from two main sources. A thorough,
accurate article should aim for multiple sources of data to decrease bias and
error.

This article evaluates the position of the U.S.

among its contenders in regard to pharmaceutical spending, and attempts to
uncover the reasoning behind the disparity. In addition, this article revealed
the improvement in medication compliance and affordability, as enforced by the
Affordable Care Act. While the U.S. claims to be a leader in healthcare, the
reality is that Americans pay more for their medications than anywhere in the
world. If the U.S. wishes to address this issue, the pharmaceutical process in
other, thriving countries must be evaluated, and perhaps, replicated. In turn, U.S.

pharmaceuticals can more accurately attend to the needs of its citizens, giving
even greater access to medications for all Americans.