Gabrielle Mérite

Comparing International Prescription Drug Prices

The United States spends more on prescription drugs on a per capita basis than most other countries do, and costs continue to rise. A RAND study found that prices for prescription drugs in the United States in 2018 were 256 percent of those in 32 comparison countries.

In the animation below, Gabrielle Mérite addresses this complex subject that may seem distant from American consumers but has a concrete impact on their health and finances. She uses imagery of bills stacking up to illustrate the reality of drug prices.

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Photographic data visualization by Gabrielle Mérite representing the prices of brand-name drugs with real money on a blue background. For the same pill, the U.S cost is $10 while Germany and Canada’s cost would be $3.50, Japan's $3.25, the UK's $3.00 and Mexico's $2.75.

A brand-name pill that costs $10 in the United States would cost about $3.50 in Germany and Canada, $3.25 in Japan, $3.00 in the UK, and $2.75 in Mexico.

Photographic data visualization by Gabrielle Mérite representing the prices of brand-name drugs with real money on a blue background where, for the same pill, the U.S cost is $10 while the overall cost in 32 high-income countries would be $3.00.

For the same brand-name pill, the U.S. cost would be $10 while the overall cost in 32 high-income countries would be about $3.00.

Explore RAND Research on Prescription Drug Pricing

U.S. prescription drug costs continue to rise. And while this likely plays a central role in driving higher U.S. health care spending, the last study to systematically compare drug prices in the United States with those of other countries used data that are now over a decade old. To fill this gap, RAND researchers examined 2018 prescription drug volume and price data to compare U.S. drug prices with those in 32 other high-income nations. Another study considered the effects of using drug prices in other countries to help set U.S. prices.

About Gabrielle Mérite

Portrait of Information Designer Gabrielle Mérite

Gabrielle Mérite is an information designer specializing in empathetic data visualizations for truth-seeking, ethically driven organizations. Deeply passionate about social justice and humanity's responsibility for one another, her work breathes life into numbers so that people can truly feel their importance.

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