The US is also different in that pharmaceutical companies can set their own prices without negotiating with the government. Instead, they just decide what the drug will cost based on market demand, which usually ends up being much higher than what would offset their development costs, because patients need medication.
Again, this is especially important to remember for prescription meds, but it makes buying brand-name over-the-counter meds even less of a smart choice, considering how long these drugs have been on the market. Ibuprofen, for example, was discovered way back in 1961, and acetaminophen's been around since the 1800s.
Don't be one of the people who doesn't get it
In the year 2015, the purchase of generic medications over the brand-name ones accounted for $227 billion in savings for the US as a whole. This means that if everyone had chosen brand-name meds, we would have spent hundreds of billions more as a population.
But there are people who do continue to choose the brand-name versions because they think they're better. In one study, college students reported better headache relief and fewer side effects from pills that were labeled with a brand, compared to pills labeled generic -- even if both versions were just sugar pills! You'd think that college students, of all people, would value cheapness.