What is International Sourcing?

With pharmacy expenditure topping $358 billion in 2020, employers are desperately searching for ways to efficiently reduce their Rx spend. International sourcing is a method that has been used on a personal level for many years. However, many U.S. businesses are starting to employ this strategy as a way to decrease prescription drug spend for their entire workforce.

You Can’t Impact The Past: ↑ Advocacy + ↑ Quality = ↓ Cost

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Thursday, May 20, 2021, 2:00 PM ET / 11 AM PT

Unlike most things, healthcare services have an inverse relationship between cost and quality: the better the quality, the lower the cost. Unfortunately, the current health benefits market is completely opaque and lacking any meaningful, realistic transparency. Additionally, we have always been taught that easy = better when designing health benefits programs for employers and their employees. However, the cost and quality of healthcare can vary dramatically within the same city. Utilization Management for example, where your members access healthcare, is one of the single most important additions to your health plan design.

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Where to Source From?

As mentioned above, international sourcing has been utilized by patients since as early as the 1990’s. However, businesses are now sourcing drugs internationally as a means for reducing Rx spend. Popular countries to source from include Canada, as well as several countries in the European Union. However, Canada is generally the location of choice due to proximity.

Safety Concerns to Consider When International Sourcing

Luckily, there are minimal to no safety concerns when considering whether or not employers should begin sourcing certain drugs internationally. These countries have similar, if not, stricter safety standards than those that exist here in the United States. When sourcing from overseas, there is little need to worry about the efficacy or safety of the drugs you receive.

International Sourcing Cost Savings

While there have been no official studies on how much you stand to save from sourcing drugs internationally, it is evident from the retail pricing of certain medications. For example, the cancer medication Gleevec costs nearly $150,000 in the United States, while in Canada the same drug only costs $38,000.

As you can see, you’ll likely save quite a bit of money from simply obtaining prescription medications across borders. You and your workers can remain certain that drugs sourced from nations such as Canada and Germany are just as safe, reliable, and just as efficient as those purchased here in the United States.