Cancer drug prices rise despite Trump plan

June 11, 2018

The manufacturer of two cancer drugs hiked the price on the medicines despite President Donald Trump’s new plan to lower drug prices.

The manufacturer of 2 cancer drugs hiked the price on the medicines, despite President Donald Trump’s new plan to lower drug prices.

Bayer increased the list prices of regorafenib (Stivarga) and sorafenib (Nexavar) by more than $1,000 per month, the drugs’ second price hike in six months. Now, Stivarga is around $16,860 per month, while Nexavar costs $18,670 per month, the Washington Post reported. Both drugs are 13% higher than they were in 2017.

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“That is an exceptionally bold move to increase prices by over $1,000 a month on an already expensive set of cancer treatments, given the political context,” Stacie Dusetzina, associate professor of cancer research at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, told the Washington Post.

“We believe drug pricing remains a risk for the pharmaceutical industry,” added Wells Fargo analyst David Maris in a research note. “The President has highlighted lowering the cost of healthcare as a key objective, and we do not expect the negative commentary around the cost of medicines will soon subside.”

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When Trump released his administration’s new drug pricing plan, he said that “a major drop in the cost of prescription drugs” was already happening, the Washington Post reported. “I think we're going to have some big-some of the big drug companies in two weeks, and they're going to announce, because of what we did, they're going to announce voluntary, massive drops in prices,” Trump said.

In addition, HHS officials have been meeting with pharmaceutical companies to seek voluntary cuts in drug prices, The Hill reported.

However, it is not clear whether pharma makers have agreed to cut prices.

Meanwhile, Bayer spokesman Christopher Loder told the newspaper that more than one-fifth of the patients taking the 2 drugs get them free through a patient assistance program.

“As we manage our current portfolio, we have to balance current operations, ensure broad access to novel medicines for patients, and continue development of more life-saving and life-changing medicines. In addition, Bayer offers numerous programs for patients who cannot afford their medicines,” Loder said.

Read more: Trump's drug pricing comments create debate