New Year, New Price Hikes

More than 30 pharmaceutical companies rang in the new year by raising prices on their medications, according to an analysis from Rx Savings Solutions. The increases affect list prices, which don’t account for rebates, discounts, or insurance payments.

Allergan led the pack, raising the price of 51 products, representing more than half of its portfolio. Twenty-seven of those products had increases of more than 9 percent. Other companies had more modest increases; for example, GlaxoSmithKline raised the prices on 36 drugs, but none exceeded 3 percent.

Among generic drug manufacturers, Hikma had the largest price hikes. It raised the list price of morphine by 10 percent and enalaprilat by 30 percent. A spokesperson told The Wall Street Journal that the company lowered the prices of some drugs and that modest increases allow it “to continue operating a sustainable business that serves hospitals, doctors and patient needs for high quality medications.”

Rx Savings Solutions CEO Michael Rea shed some light on why – despite more attention on reining in drug prices – these increases continue to happen year after year, telling The Wall Street Journal, “There is no market check, no person or entity to bring reason to determining drug prices.”

Pressing pharmaceutical companies on the cost of their drugs will likely remain a key political tactic as lowering drug prices is a priority for the Trump administration, as well as for Democratic lawmakers who have recently taken control of the House of Representatives.

Source: The Wall Street Journal, January 1, 2019.