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Earlier this week I wrote about how a lack of drug price regulation in the United States allows pharmaceutical companies — including Epi Pen’s manufacturer, Mylan — to charge exceptionally high prices for their products.Scott Alexander at the blog Slate Star Codex argues that I’ve got it all wrong: The problem isn’t a lack of price regulation.

We’ve set up a system that makes it incredibly easy for drug companies to score high profits and charge exceptionally high prices for their products.

One way it’s favorable is that we let drug companies pick their own prices — in this way the United States is exceptional, as the vast majority of developed companies regulate their drug prices.

Another way we’ve created a favorable regulatory environment, as Alexander writes, is by allowing roadblocks to stand in the way of generic drug makers who want to enter.

More generics can help America’s drug spending problem. Greater use of generic drugs is widely accepted as a way to drive down drug spending.

The FDA has found that drug prices decline to 55 percent of the brand-name price when two generic manufacturers begin making a product.

Right now, the United States already uses a lot of generic drugs.

In fact, about 90 percent of drugs prescribed in the country right now are generic.

Brand name drugs are the reason that America has higher per-capita drug spending than other countries.

Brand-name drugs make up just 10 percent of prescriptions filled in the United States, but account for 72 percent of drug spending.

Drugs that are under patent are the true source of high American drug costs.

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