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An axiom in the overheated debate about prescription drug pricing is that Americans are often charged more than what is paid by people in other countries. And internal data from one large drug maker illustrates the point.

In 2014, the most recent year for which data was available, Novartis (NVS) headquarters in Switzerland charged its U.S. subsidiary significantly more for four medicines than what its subsidiaries paid in roughly a dozen other countries. These included several well-to-do nations such as the U.K., Germany, and France. And the difference in pricing ranged anywhere from 45 percent to 176 percent, after adjusting for currency fluctuations and packaging.

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