Prescription drug prices are much higher in Boston than overseas

High resolution image of three prescription medication bottles setting on a glass medicine cabinet shelf. Containers hold capsules, caplets, and tablets.

People in Boston are paying much more for their prescriptions than consumers overseas, STAT reports.

The median cost of generic and brand-name prescription drugs in Boston are 38 and 158 times higher than the international benchmark used by the World Health Organization, according to a recent analysis published in the Journal of Pharmaceutical Policy and Practice.

The median cost for store-brand and brand-name over-the-counter medicines are also higher—11 and 21 times, respectively—than the international benchmark.

“Very few people pay the full price (for prescription medicines), because they typically have some type of insurance, but we’re showing that even with those discounts, they’re still paying more,” Richard Laing, a professor of international health at Boston University who led the analysis, told STAT.


The analysis also found the median prices varied in chain and independent pharmacies.

Read the full STAT report here.

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