A new pill for hepatitis C is unmasking a huge global inequality in pharmaceutical costs—one that disproportionately burdens the United States. The FT has a must-read report on Solvadi, a drug developed by Gilead Sciences that costs $84,000 for a 12-week course of treatment for American patients, but sells for a song in other countries—as low as $11 per pill in Egypt, for example.Although the disparity is extreme in this case, it is nothing new. Because other countries place price controls on medications, the U.S. has to foot the bill for medical developments. This was part of the reason for the price discrepancies that created the surge in buying prescription medications from Canada several years ago.
In any event, it is part of a larger problem of the world viewing the United States as the world's penny bank. We're expected to pay for the U.N., development projects, food relief, medical care, defense, global warming, and on and on. We think this grows good will. It doesn't though. What it creates is resentment. It's "unfair" that the United States has been so successful in the eyes of most of the world. Most of these countries are no more grateful than the mugger who takes your wallet.