Drugs

China offers drug companies market access in exchange for lower prices

Doctors visiting a patient in a Chinese hospital
Doctors visit a patient in the First People's Hospital of Yancheng in Yancheng. Photo: Xinhua/via Getty Images

China wants to have better health care at a lower cost than the U.S. or other countries — a plan that involves extracting massive discounts from pharmaceutical companies, Bloomberg reports.

Why it matters: The trade-off for drug companies is access to China's enormous population and, thus, a giant market, and Chinese patients are now paying much less than Americans for the same drugs.

New drugs are launching with ever-higher prices

Pill breaking open spilling $100 bills.
Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

The average launch prices for new brand-name drugs have skyrocketed over the past decade, according to an analysis from drug research firm 46brooklyn.

Why it matters: The U.S. prescription drug market increasingly has thrived on high initial price tags and subsequent increases. That has resulted in higher premiums and out-of-pocket costs for new drugs, as well as more expensive generics.