Cost Burden of Prescription Drug Spending in Canada and the United States, 2008 Edition

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There is a common misconception that American prices for prescription medications are excessive because they are often higher than prices in Canada. This leads some people to suggest that the overall cost burden of prescription drug spending in the United States is unfair. However, the fact is that the relative burden of prescription drug spending is roughly equivalent in both countries. This is partly explained by the fact that many drugs, generics in particular, are significantly more expensive in Canada than they are in the United States. On balance, between the higher prices paid for brand-name drugs and the much lower prices paid for generic drugs in the US, Americans spend about the same percentage of their incomes on prescription drugs as Canadians.

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