Digital healthcare provider Medbelle has released a study revealing the difference in medicines costs across the globe. As a follow-up to their research which examined the accessibility of the world’s best hospital systems, Medbelle decided to further investigate
one of the most common barriers to healthcare access in many locations: the price of medicine. The result is a comparative index across 50 countries which reveals the differences in cost of some of the most widely recognised and indispensable medications.
Medbelle began the study by selecting 13 prevalent pharmaceutical compounds in order to make a comparison on a pound-for-pound basis of how much medicines cost in different countries, regardless of whether covered by a healthcare system, or paid directly from the individual’s pocket.
The medications chosen for comparison span a variety of common conditions; from heart disease and asthma, to anxiety disorders and erectile dysfunction. The average prices of both the brand compound and their generic versions were included in order to have a complete profile of each medication. Lastly, Medbelle normalised the dosage size in order to make the price comparable.
Once all these figures were collected, the median price was calculated for each compound around the world, as well as how far the actual price per dose in each country deviates from the median global cost. The results range from a +306.82% deviation in the United States, to -93.93% in Thailand, highlighting a disparity in what patients pay for the same medicine across the world.
The table below reveals a sample of results for the top and bottom 10 countries with the most and least expensive medication costs in the world:
“One of the most glaring results of the study is how much higher the cost of medicine is in the United States in comparison to the rest of the world. Take Insulin for example; our study shows that Americans pay around five and a half times more than the global median for the life-saving diabetes medication. To put it into perspective, imagine if an everyday item like a gallon of milk cost $3.50 in Canada, but $22.85 across the border in the US,” comments Daniel Kolb, Co-Founder and Managing Director at Medbelle.
“We believe in the digitalisation of healthcare and as such have made it our mission to increase transparency regarding price and quality. With this study, we hope to provide patients with a similar standard of transparency when it comes to medicine prices around the world.”