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by BBC World Service
In the Balance

The Price of Pills

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Drug firms are coming under fire from the US, Europe and China over the cost of some of their products. But is it simply the price we have to pay if we want Big Pharma to keep producing life-saving medicines? President Trump has vowed to drive down drug prices "substantially" - we hear why a lack of haggling means the latest patented pills typically cost more in the US than almost anywhere else in the world. We hear from Big Pharma itself - an industry figure tells us high prices reflect the years of research and development that go into new drugs and that, in time, competition does make them cheaper. Plus, does size matter when brokering better deals with the pharmaceutical firms, and in lower income countries what are the other factors pushing up prices? Contributors: Patricia Danzon, professor of health care management at The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania; Thomas Cueni, director general of the International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers and Associations; and Kalipso Chalkidou, director of global health policy at the Center for Global Development. (Picture: Pills on a US dollar bill. Credit: Getty Images)

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by BBC World Service