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The Price We Pay: Why Is Medication So Expensive?

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In the latest installment of WFAE’s health care series The Price We Pay, we take a look at medication costs.

Americans spend twice as much on medical care as people in other wealthy countries, and one of the reasons is the high prices of our prescription drugs.

We pay, on average, 2 1/2 times for the same medicines.


Many experts say the problem is American brand name drugs — not all drugs. And the drug companies aren’t the only ones who benefit.

Mike Collins gathers a panel of experts to talk about the drug companies, patient assistance charities, pharmacy benefit managers and others who are benefiting from high drug costs in America, and about why this problem doesn’t exist in other countries.

Are we being ripped off? And can anything be done?


Tahir Amin, co-founder and co-executive director of I-MAK (Initiative for Medicines, Access & Knowledge)

Dr. Stacie Dusetzina, associate professor of health policy at Vanderbilt University Medical Center

Dr. Ge Bai, professor of accounting at Johns Hopkins Carey Business School, professor of health policy and management at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

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Charlotte Talks Executive Producer Wendy Herkey has been with WFAE since 1998, beginning in the membership department, and has been on the Charlotte Talks staff since 1999.