New study finds some poor countries paying 20 to 30 times more for basic medicines than others.

Basic, everyday drugs can cost up to 20 to 30 times more in some poor countries than others, according to a new study released today by the Center for Global Development.

The study examined billions of dollars of health spending on common, life-saving medicines in developing countries, mostly in Africa and Asia. To date, it is one of the largest-ever studies on global health procurement.

The study has three main findings:

1. In developing countries, prices for basic generic medicines can vary widely and far exceed wealthy-country prices.

2. Low- and middle-income countries purchase more expensive branded generic drugs rather than unbranded quality-assured generics. 

3. There is little competition in the supply of essential medicines in low- and middle-income countries.