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Lots of conversation on the cost of US healthcare seems hyper-focused on prescription drug prices. A report released last week seems to contradict the notion that prescription drug prices are the culprit. Yes, prescription drugs cost more in the US than the rest of the world, but the real burden on healthcare seems related to administrative costs. [0]

Per an analysis of the report [1]:

“The U.S. spent $10,637 per capita on health care in 2018. Comparable countries spent $5,527.

The overwhelming majority of the difference — 76% of it — came from spending on inpatient and outpatient care — not drugs, which get more attention but represent just 10% of the difference.“

As someone who works in the pharmaceutical industry, I’ll be the first to admit that the financial toxicity associated with prescription drugs is a very real concern. To be absolutely clear, there is opportunity to reduce the cost for many prescription drugs without hobbling innovation. But perhaps the conversation would be better served by focusing on the larger system that allow healthcare costs to flourish unchecked? Should we not also be outraged when a single hospital-provided band-aid costs $7.00 (~20X markup)? [2] Price gouging is rampant across the board.

[0] https://www.healthsystemtracker.org/brief/what-drives-health...

[1] https://www.axios.com/drugs-arent-the-reason-the-us-spends-s...

[2] https://www.pri.org/stories/2017-10-16/curious-case-629-er-b...

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