December 18, 2000
News Release 00-156
Inv. No. 332-419


The U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) today released its report Pricing of Prescription Drugs.

The ITC, an independent, nonpartisan, factfinding federal agency, prepared the report at the request of the Committee on Ways and Means, U.S. House of Representatives.

In June 2000, the Committee asked the ITC to investigate and report on how certain countries' price controls on innovative medicines affect the pricing for such drugs abroad and in the United States. The countries involved were Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Russia, and the United Kingdom. The ITC was asked to provide the study within 90 days of receipt of the letter, or by September 29, 2000. Following subsequent communications with the Committee, the deadline for the report was extended until December 1, 2000, and the scope of the Committee's original request was modified.

The ITC report released today provides, for each of the countries under consideration, information on the process by which drug prices are established, the role of compulsory licensing in setting prices, and a description of the costs associated with the development of prescription drugs in each country, as requested. Other information sought in the original request -- a comparison of authorized prices in the specified countries and whether and to what extent U.S. prices are impacted by foreign price-control systems -- is addressed in the form of a general discussion of conditions of competition in the pharmaceutical market, a brief review of the literature that addresses the dynamics of the pharmaceutical market and international price comparisons, and a presentation of the analytical framework that could be used should the Committee request additional analysis.

Pricing of Prescription Drugs (Inv. No. 332-419, USITC Publication No. 3333, December 2000) will be posted in the Reports and Publications section of the ITC's Internet site at A printed copy may be requested by calling 202-205-1809 or by writing the Office of the Secretary, U.S. International Trade Commission, 500 E Street SW, Washington, DC 20436. Requests may be faxed to 202-205-2104.

ITC general factfinding investigations, such as this one, cover matters related to tariffs or trade and are generally conducted at the request of the U.S. Trade Representative, the Senate Committee on Finance, or the House Committee on Ways and Means. The resulting reports convey the Commission's objective findings and independent analyses on the subjects investigated. The Commission makes no recommendations on policy or other matters in its general factfinding reports. Upon completion of each investigation, the ITC submits its findings and analyses to the requester. General factfinding investigation reports are subsequently released to the public, unless they are classified by the requester for national security reasons.

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