International reference pricing for prescription drugs: a landscape analysis

J Manag Care Spec Pharm. 2021 Sep;27(9):1309-1313. doi: 10.18553/jmcp.2021.27.9.1309.


During the Trump administration, members of Congress and the administration proposed the introduction of international reference pricing (IRP) to Medicare in order to reduce US drug spending by benchmarking prices to those in other countries. Many other countries currently use IRP. We examined how US policy proposals compare with the implementation of IRP in the countries that would be referenced by the United States. Nearly two-thirds of comparator countries use IRP but also use other price negotiation strategies. The congressional proposal was most like the approach used by other countries, while the Trump administration's proposals took an uncommon approach to IRP by not adopting additional pricing strategies. DISCLOSURES: This work was supported by Arnold Ventures, which provided overall funding but was not involved in conception, design, or conduct of this work. Kesselheim provides guidance to the Massachusetts Health Policy Commission on its prescription drug price review process under a contract to Brigham and Women's Hospital but does not receive personal funding for this work. Rand has nothing to disclose.

MeSH terms

  • Costs and Cost Analysis / methods*
  • Drug Costs
  • Gross Domestic Product
  • Internationality*
  • Prescription Drugs / economics*
  • United States


  • Prescription Drugs