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Red Jahncke

How to Make Drug Prices Fair to U.S. Consumers

A "best price" clause would make Europeans and their national health-care systems pay their fair share.
Nothing fair about it.

Nothing fair about it.

Photographer: Tim Boyle/Getty Images

Americans pay far more for branded prescription drugs than people in any other developed nation, exactly the kind of bad deal that President-elect Donald Trump decried repeatedly in his campaign. The U.S. was reminded of this outrage in September when it learned that drugmaker Mylan NV has been charging Americans more than $600 for its EpiPen two-pack while selling it for only $69 in the U.K.

Why does this kind of inequality persist? The main reason is that, by law, Medicare and Medicaid cannot use their volume purchasing power to negotiate lower prices, as do health agencies in virtually all other developed nations.