ICER Says Drug Makers Raised Prices on 7 Drugs Without Justification

According to a new analysis by the Institute for Clinical and Economic Review (ICER), drug manufacturers raised prices on seven popular medications without new clinical evidence as justification, costing U.S. patients and insurers an additional $5.1 billion in 2017 and 2018. The agents include Humira (adalimumab), Cialis (tadalafil), Lyrica (pregabalin), Tecfidera (dimethyl fumarate), Truvada (emtricitabine/tenofovir), Neulasta (pegfilgrastim), and Rituxan (rituximab).

“We took the position that if a drug has this sort of impact [on spending] in the U.S. because prices increase substantially, then it should have new evidence to justify that,” David Rind, MD, chief medical officer at ICER explained. “But these seven drugs didn’t.”

Out of the 100 highest-selling medications in the U.S., ICER searched for drugs for which prices increased at least twice the rate of inflation after estimated discounts and rebates, then identified the 10 drugs that have contributed to the largest net increases in spending. The report found proof of added benefit for two drugs, Revlimid (lenalidomide) and Genvoya (dolutegravir/lamivudine), but the added benefit was not consistent with the magnitude of the price increases.

ICER commonly analyzes prices of newly approved drugs, but this is the first time ICER has analyzed drug price hikes, and the report comes during a time of increasing focus on reining in the pharmaceutical industry’s pricing power.

Source: STAT, October 8, 2019.