Despite Intense Public, Congressional Scrutiny, Pharma Still Hikes Prices For Hundreds Of Drugs In 2020
“The more things change, the more they stay the same,” Piper Jaffray analyst Christopher Raymond wrote in a note to investors, pointing out that the timing and impact are “literally identical to the increases taken last year.”
Pharmaceutical companies started 2020 by raising the prices of hundreds of drugs an average of 5.8%, according to a new analysis, a smaller increase than a year prior as the industry faces growing scrutiny from patients, lawmakers and health plans. Pfizer Inc. led the way, including increasing prices by over 9% on more than 40 products. The drug industry traditionally sets prices for its therapies at the start of the year and again in the middle of the year. (Hopkins, 1/2)
For instance, Gilead Sciences (GILD) increased prices for several HIV pills by 4.8%, Biogen (BIIB) boosted its Tecfidera multiple sclerosis treatment by 6%, Eli Lilly (LLY) raised the cost of two diabetes medicines by 6%, and Pfizer (PFE) increased the list price of its Prevnar vaccine for pneumococcal disease by 7.3%. Notably, AbbVie (ABBV) boosted the price of its Humira rheumatoid arthritis treatment by 7.4%, and this comes after the company reached deals with several other drug makers to delay competition in the U.S. until 2023. (Silverman, 1/2)
Some key drugs, such as Merck & Co.’s top-selling cancer drug Keytruda, have yet to see higher prices, according to data compiled by Evercore ISI’s Umer Raffat. But last year’s price increases didn’t occur until a few days into the new year, the analyst said. Companies may be delaying some of those increases to later this month to escape early January scrutiny, Bernstein analyst Ronny Gal said in an email. While it’s too soon to tell, Gal expects price hikes may go up modestly from last year. So far, 85 drugmakers have reported with price increases on over 300 unique drugs, according to 3 Axis analysis. (Flanagan, 1/2)
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi today cited a wave of New Year's drug price increases in urging the Senate to take action on pharmaceutical costs. Drug companies increased the prices of at least 324 drugs by an average of 5.1 percent in the first few days of 2020, according to data compiled by GoodRx, a company that helps consumers find lower prices on medicines at pharmacies. (Karlin-Smith, 1/2) This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.