So, what does the above definition have to do with perceived greed of the pharmaceutical companies as touted by the current crop of Democratic presidential candidates? The standard response to cheaper prices abroad for prescription drugs is that the single-payer health care systems in other countries negotiate prices with the drug manufacturers. While this is true, there is another factor that contributes to this practice.
Patent protection virtually eliminates competition for brand name drugs by would-be generic manufacturers. In the United States, patent rights are vigorously defended and upheld. Beyond on our borders – not so much. So, as a result, drug manufacturers often opt to offer cheaper prices on brand name drugs to shield themselves against illicit production of generic versions. Unfortunately to the detriment of U.S. consumers, disrespect for the rule of law by foreign countries often results in lower prices of the same brand name drugs overseas.