Nexium is a bright, purple pill that treats heartburn. It's the second best-selling drug in the United States right now. Americans spent $6.2 billion buying millions of Nexium prescriptions in 2013 alone.
But we probably didn't have to: while Americans pay an average of $215 for a Nexium prescription, the Dutch get the exact same purple pill for $23. In England, Nexium costs $42 and in Spain the price is $58.
If the United States paid what the Netherlands paid for Nexium, we would have spent $663 million on the drug in 2013 rather than $6.2 billion.
There's nothing different about the Nexium that we buy in the United States and the pill that the Dutch buy – except that, in the United States, we're terrible at negotiating a good deal on pretty much any medical service.
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