The purpose of “Paying for Prescription Drugs

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.1 Furthermore, this article seeks
to determine the impact of pharmaceutical pricing on patients themselves via purchasing
trends over the past several years.1 The literature review supported
the undertaking of this study by pointing out that the U.S. trumps all other countries
in total healthcare spending.1 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, the 2016 Commonwealth Fund International Health
Policy Survey, and other sources”1 provided the data in this article.1 The
Organisation for Economic Co-operation (OECD) was chosen as a viable source of
information, as it obtains healthcare data on a yearly-basis, derived from the
highest income countries.1 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.1 All data incorporated was from 2013 or later.1
Eight total graphs were included, with many being sourced from the OECD or Commonwealth
Fund.1 In order to best evaluate countries and their spending
habits, currency was made uniform by being converted to U.S. dollars.1
Furthermore, when the article referenced total pharmaceutical spending, it
referred to net costs.1 Data excluded from this article consisted of
pharmaceutical use and spending statistics obtained from hospitals or any other
inpatient or outpatient facility.1 Thus, the dollar amounts reported
in this article reflect the retail price of medications only.1

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 2015.1 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.1 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.1 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 affinity for generic medications.1
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.1 Another explanation 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.1 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 2016.1 This line graph peaks at 42% in 2007, and
has since dropped to 24% in 2016.1 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.1

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.1
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.1 In addition, this
article revealed the improvement in medication compliance and affordability, as
enforced by the Affordable Care Act.1 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.1 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.