No Surprise – U.S. Medical Care Most Expensive In The World, Yet Leaves Millions Without

2013 Survey documents most prescribed drug and medical costs

The International Federation of Health Plans released its 2013 Comparative Price Report – Variation in Medical and Hospital Prices by Country and the United States leads the way with the highest costs anywhere.

2013 Comparative Price Report
The latest report documents drug and medical costs in 25-countries, ranging from most poor to most wealthy. US prices are two to nine times higher than anywhere else. Please click on the graph for the full story.

Some of the key countries participating in the IFHP survey include: Canada, England, Netherlands, New Zealand, Spain, Switzerland and the US. This year’s survey includes pricing for several specialty prescription drugs, along with prices for other prescription drugs and a variety of medical procedures. Prices for each country are submitted by participating federation member plans, and are drawn from public or commercial sectors.

Here are a couple of examples: Geevec, used to treat cancers including some types of leukemia costs $1,141 in Canada, $3,633 in Switzerland and $6,214 in the US (where prices can run over $11,000). Humira, used to treat rheumatoid arthritis, costs $881 in Switzerland and an average of $2,246 in the US (and can be as much as $4,000).

A frequently used diagnostic tool, MRI, costs $138 in Switzerland, $350 in Australia, and an average of $1,145 in the US (and can be as high as $2,900). And a relatively common surgery, appendectomy, costs $4,995 in the Netherlands, $5,177 in Australia and an average of $13,910 in the US (or as high as $29,000).

The price variations bear no relation to health outcomes: they merely demonstrate the relative ability of providers to profiteer at the expense of patients, and in some cases reflect a damaging degree of market failure.

—IFHP Chief Executive Tom Sackville
For more information about IFHP, which are more than 80 member insurance companies operating in 25 countries, many of whom offer some type of universal coverage, please click here.