Drug price hikes stall in 2017, analysis says: 4 things to know

The average price hike for 20 of the nation's top-selling brand-name prescription drugs has  decreased for the fifth consecutive year, according to an analysis completed by STAT.

 

For the analysis, STAT researchers looked at data from Truven Health Analytics on drug pricing and focused on the top 20 medicines by top-line invoice spending in the U.S., as defined by a recent report from IQVIA, a consulting firm.

The drugs analyzed by STAT treat a wide range of conditions,including arthritis, diabetes, HIV and asthma.

Here are four insights from the analysis.

1. The average annual price growth rate for 20 of the nation's top selling drugs was 6.9 percent in 2017. In comparison, the average growth rate was 7.6 percent in 2016; 10.4 percent in 2015, 13.6 percent in 2014; and 15.2 percent in 2013.  

2. The highest price jump in 2017 was for Lyrica, Pfizer's drug that treats nerve pain and fibromyalgia. The drug now costs 19.8 percent more than it did in the same period in 2016.

3. In contrast, Gilead Sciences' hepatitis C treatment Harvoni did not increase in 2017.

4. While the price hikes have stalled for widely-used medications, it is important to note that many of these drugs still carry a hefty price tag. Seven of the 20 studied ranged from $59,000 and $92,000 per patient in 2017.

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