Pharma makers to hike drug prices in 2019

Dec 21, 2018



While President Donald Trump pushed drugmakers to lower prices in 2018-and some complied-many are starting out this year with price hikes.

Nearly 30 pharmaceutical manufacturers will raise prices on their medications sold in the United States in January, according to a Reuters article.

Thanks to a California law, drugmakers recently notified state agencies that they planned to raise prices in 60 days or longer, Reuters said. The law requires pharmaceutical manufacture to notify California payers if they intend to raise the U.S. list price on any drug by more than 16% over a 2-year period.

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Novartis, Bayer, Allergan Plc, GlaxoSmithKline Plc, Amgen, AstraZeneca Plc, and Biogen Inc. are among those planning to raise prices, according to Reuters.

Pfizer also said in mid-November that it will raise prices on 41 of its drugs, representing around 10% of its portfolio, early this year. All but 4 of the drugs will realize a price hike of 5%. Prices on 3 drugs will increase 3%, while 1 will go up by 9%.

In addition, list prices on all medications are expected to rise by 7% a year, but net prices will increase less than 2%, according to IQVIA.

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“On average, 70% of the list price increase will go towards rebates, wholesale discounts, and other concessions that are not passed on to the consumer. Because of the increase in the use of generics and biosimilars, most people will pay less out of pocket for medicines,” Robert Goldberg, co-founder and vice president of the Center for Medicine in the Public Interest, told FormularyWatch.

However, the 2% of Americans with the greatest need for new medicines will pay more out-of-pocket, Goldberg said. In 2017, that 2% group paid $24 billion for the out-of-pocket costs of new medicines.

“Even if the net price of new medicines were cut by 30%, a small percentage of patients would still pay thousands of dollars out of pocket,” Goldberg said. “The most direct way to make medicines affordable to those who need them most is to eliminate cost sharing.  And the most direct way to do that is to use rebates to reduce out-of-pocket cost to zero.”

Read more: Pharma exec defends 400% price hike

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