Aust drug prices 14 times higher than UK

The Grattan Institute compared seven Australian wholesale drug prices in December with those in the UK, New Zealand and Ontario, Canada.

The December figures show the prices of seven generic drugs fell by about a third due to the federal government's price disclosure policy.

Price disclosure tracks discounts manufacturers give to pharmacists to enable the government to cut drug prices in line with what pharmacies actually pay.

Despite the December price cuts, the Grattan Institute found Australian prices are 14 times higher than for the same drugs in the UK.

Benchmarking domestic drug prices against those in other countries would help consumers get a much better deal, the institute said. 

For six of the seven drugs that dropped in price, benchmarking would save consumers almost $20 for a box of pills on average.

"Any business would look around to check the market price, and the government should do the same,"

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