There are large disparities in prescription and speciality drug prices across Western countries according to research from International Federation of Health Plans (iFHP.)

Prescription pain medication, OxyContin, costs the equivalent of $36 in Spain, but jumps to an average cost of $265 in the United States and the equivalent of $590 in the United Kingdom. Tom Sackville, chief executive of the iFHP said: “We look at these numbers every year and it’s always a shocking demonstration of how much procedures and prescription drugs actually cost. The figures come from the iFHP’s 2015 Comparative Price Report, an annual survey of medical prices per unit. The report examined the price of medical procedures, tests, scans and treatments in seven countries. The report revealed that other known drugs such as Truvada, prescribed for treating HIV/AIDS, cost less than the equivalent of $1,000 in Spain, United Kingdom and Switzerland, but cost an average $1,290 in the United States.

Similarly, Humira, a drug prescribed for rheumatoid arthritis has prices ranging from $552 in South Africa to an average $2,669 in the United States.


Meanwhile the US had the highest hospital cost per day of $5,220 with Spain having the lowest hospital cost per day of $424. Prices for Australia, New Zealand, Spain, South Africa, Switzerland and the UK in the report come from the private sector, with data provided by one private health plan in each country. Prices for the United States were derived from over 370 million medical claims and over 170 million pharmacy claims that reflect prices negotiated and paid to health care providers. Sackville added: “There is no reason why identical procedures and products should vary in price so much across countries: it illustrates the damaging effects of an inadequately regulated healthcare market.”