Pharmaceutical spending per capita in selected countries 2018

Pharmaceutical spending per capita in Canada stood at around 832 U.S. dollars, as of 2018. In comparison, the United States reported per capita spending of more than 1,220 U.S. dollars. As for medical goods and services in general, the U.S. is among the countries with highest health costs worldwide. The higher costs in the United States are particularly obvious when compared to other high-income, developed countries.

Higher drug prices in the U.S.

However, higher spending on pharmaceuticals is less impacted by higher drug usage by Americans and more by significantly higher drug prices in the United States. While in other countries drug prices are regulated more or less by governments, the U.S. leaves drug pricing to market competition. As an outcome, the U.S. market is the most profitable for pharmaceutical companies. For example, the price for blockbuster drug Humira was twice as high in the United States as in the United Kingdom.

Rx drug usage in the U.S.

Almost half of all Americans have taken at least one prescription medicine within the preceding month. Generally, women take more prescribed drugs than men, although the difference decreased significantly over the past two decades. In the United States, the therapeutic areas where spending is the highest are antidiabetics, oncologics, autoimmune, and respiratory diseases. On the other hand, antihypertensives, pain reliever, and mental health drugs are the leading classes based on number of prescriptions filled.
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Pharmaceutical spending per capita in selected countries as of 2018
(in U.S. dollars)
Per capita spending in U.S. dollars
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