Americans get a tough break when it comes to medications. On average, Americans spend upwards of 50-100 percent more on prescriptions compared to the rest of the world. It’s maddening to look at the price discrepancies between the U.S. and our European counterparts. Especially considering that we pay, on average, $983 per year on prescription drugs alone. However, as Americans, do we truly understand what we’re paying for?

The high cost of prescription medications is a direct result of the research and development expenses. The U.S. is the largest biopharmaceutical researcher in the world. Pharmaceutical firms in the U.S. are responsible for 80 percent of the world’s research and development of new medications. Considering that the R&D of a new drug costs between $4 and $11 billion dollars, it’s no wonder prescription prices are so high. The question we must ask is whether or not these medications are worth the cost.

Although research and development costs are high, Americans are benefitting from innovative, life-saving drugs. In 2012 alone, the FDA approved and highlighted 15 new drugs for their significant contribution to the health and quality of life of patients. These drugs helped in the fight against HIV, skin cancer, Cystic Fibrosis, Alzheimer’s Disease and breast cancer, just to name a few. Additionally, the high price we pay for prescriptions leads to larger healthcare savings down the road.

Take a look at this infographic from Clarity Way to learn more about the high costs of prescription medications and the benefits of innovative research and development.

The Cost of Providing Drugs to the World
Infographic by Clarity Way