The price of new prescription drugs is skyrocketing
Warning: The prescription drug data below may be difficult to swallow and may cause nausea, heartburn, and indigestion.
The median introductory price of new prescription drugs has risen from around $2,000 per year in 2008 to more than $180,000 in 2021, according to a new study published in the medical journal JAMA.
The increase is equivalent to an annual inflation rate of 20%, according to researchers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. “Prices have increased by 11% per year, even after adjusting for estimated manufacturer discounts and changes to certain drug characteristics, such as more oncology and specialty drugs (e.g., injectables, biologics) introduced in recent years. years,” the study said.
In 2020 and 2021, 47% of new drugs had initial prices set above $150,000 per year, up from 9% from 2008 to 2013, according to the study.
The researchers looked at 548 brand-name drugs introduced between 2008 and 2021 using price data from SSR Health. The discounted price analysis used a subset of 305 medicines for which estimated net prices were available.
Why is this important: The study notes that the price trend for new drugs is outpacing increases in other health care services. “While public attention has focused on year-over-year price increases for existing prescription drugs, the study indicates that soaring introductory prices are also contributing to rising costs” , writes Robert Langreth of Bloomberg.
“These data demonstrate why we desperately need drug pricing reform,” wrote Dr. Benjamin Rome, health policy researcher and lead author of the study. Twitter. “But existing congressional proposals (eg, Build Back Better) would do NOTHING to control the prices of new drugs. BBB Medicare’s negotiation provisions specifically EXCLUD new drugs for 9-13 years.
What is the solution ? Rome wrote that the price increases come because the United States lets drugmakers “set prices as high as they want” and then allows them an average of 12 to 17 years in the market without direct competition. “Why not negotiate the prices of newly approved drugs based on evidence of clinical benefit? In fact, the United States is the only high-income country that does NOT assess and negotiate prices for new drugs.
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