Drug Pricing Tutorials

In the U.S., there are two purchasing/reimbursement systems for pharmaceutical drugs: one for drugs administered in a doctor’s office or outpatient clinic and one for drugs dispensed at the pharmacy. In this section, we provide an overview of how we purchase and reimburse for both outpatient drugs and pharmacy-dispensed prescription drugs in the United States. Although these two systems differ significantly from one another, both can be confusing to navigate, and both create incentives that may distort the prices of drugs in ways that do not align with their value.

Select one of the two options below to explore key concepts and issues specific to each of these drug types.

Doctor's Office Drugs

Doctor's office drugs are administered by physicians and nurses in doctor's offices and hospital outpatient clinics. Also known as outpatient drugs, these include many cancer treatments, as well as infused therapies for autoimmune and other disorders.
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Pharmacy Drugs

Pharmacy drugs are self-administered medicines that are prescribed by a physician and dispensed by the pharmacy.
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