Drugmakers raise prices 6.6% this year

A month into 2022, drugmakers have raised the list prices for medications in the U.S. by an average of 6.6 percent, compared to the 7 percent overall consumer inflation rate, The Wall Street Journal reported. 

The news outlet cited an analysis from Rx Savings Solutions, which makes software to find prescription drug savings, that found about 150 drugmakers raised prices on 866 products through Jan. 20. 

Five details: 

1. Drugmakers raised prices by an average of 4.5 percent on 893 drugs during the same period last year. Drug price increases hit a peak in 2015 and 2016, when some drugs saw increases higher than 10 percent, according to The Wall Street Journal.

2. The 2022 analysis showed prices rose for some of the top-selling medications in the U.S., including AbbVie's Humira, an anti-inflammatory, which saw a 7 percent increase. The price of Bristol-Myers Squibb and Pfizer's Eliquis, an anticoagulant, rose by 6 percent, and Trulicity, Eli Lilly's diabetes drug, rose by 5 percent. 

3. Political pressure and other drug-pricing measures in recent years have made price hikes less profitable for drug companies, the Journal reports. Many pharmacy benefit managers, for example, have negotiated price increase caps that require drugmakers to pay rebates on product sales that have price increases above certain thresholds. 

4. The Biden administration has also proposed drug-pricing provisions in its Build Back Better bill, including one that caps price increases at the overall inflation rate across federal and private health insurance programs. 

5. Pfizer, which raised prices by an average of 3.2 percent on 219 drugs, shared the following statement with The Wall Street Journal: 

"For the past three years, our net prices — the prices we actually receive for our medications — has fallen due to higher rebates and discounts paid to insurance companies and pharmacy benefit managers." 

To read the full Wall Street Journal report, click here.

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