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Prescription drugs generally cost more in the US than in other countries. And a new analysis found this is especially true in Boston, where consumers can expect to pay many times more for their medicines than the international benchmark pricing used by the World Health Organization.

The median costs of brand-name and generic drugs in Boston were 158 and 38 times higher, respectively, than the international benchmark. Similarly, median costs for brand-name and store-brand over-the-counter medicines were 21 and 11 times higher than the benchmark, according to the analysis, which was published in the Journal of Pharmaceutical Policy and Practice.


“Very few people pay the full price (for prescription medicines), because they typically have some type of insurance, but we’re showing that even with those discounts, they’re still paying more” than in other countries, said Richard Laing, a professor of international health at Boston University, who led the analysis. He noted that the WHO set a target of four times the international benchmark as an acceptable pricing level for consumers.

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