'Unsupported' drug price increases cost payers $1.3B: ICER

Eight drugs had price increases so steep that they cost health insurers nearly $1.3 billion from 2021 to 2022, according to a Dec. 11 report from the Institute for Clinical and Economic Review.

Researchers identified 10 best-selling drugs whose net price increases had the largest effect on prescription drug spending in 2021-22 using data from SSR Health. Of these medications, researchers determined eight had price increases that were not supported by new clinical evidence.

In total, price hikes for these drugs produced $1.27 billion in added costs for U.S. payers in 2022, according to the report. AbbVie's arthritis drug Humira was responsible for the largest chunk of additional costs at $386 million. The drug's wholesale price jumped 7.1% between 2021 and 2022, while the net price increased by 2%.

ICER has issued a report on "unsupported" price increases annually since 2019. Drugmakers have been quick to critique the report's methodology, arguing that it does not adjust for inflation or account for the broader competitive healthcare landscape.

"ICER's UPI reports are misguided at best; at worst, they are harmful to patients and society," the National Pharmaceutical Council said in a Dec. 11 statement. "The arbitrary methodology supports misleading conclusions about biopharmaceutical value and evidence, which should give anyone pause before making patient access or other policy-related decisions based on the report."

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