Drug companies greet 2019 with United States price hikes

Drug companies greet 2019 with United States price hikes

Some of the biggest price increases came from pain medications. In November, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., and Rep. Ro Khanna, D-Calif., introduced a bill that seeks to aggressively lower drug prices by eliminating drug companies' monopolies if their prices are determined to be excessive.

HHS has proposed policy changes aimed at lowering drug prices and passing more of the discounts negotiated by health insurers on to patients.

The average increase was 6.3 percent, according to the analysis, including increases on different doses for the same drug. Many agreed to delay price hikes in July after Trump implored them.

Allergan Plc raised prices on more than 50 drugs, with a lot of them rising by 9.5%, Reuters said, noting that Allergan maintains that the average list price of all drugs in its portfolio are rising by 3.8%. None of which was more than 3 percent.

"Requests and public shaming haven't worked", Michael Rea, chief executive of RX Savings Solutions, told Reuters at the time. 'We expect the number of 2019 increases to be even greater than in past years'.

Three dozen drugmakers are raising prices on more than 250 prescription drugs, according to an analysis by RX Savings Solutions.

Pfizer said it would defer the price increases to January 2019 and companies like Bayer, Novartis, Allergan, AstraZeneca and Amgen soon followed.

Novartis has informed California that it will raise prices on more than 30 drugs, including medications that treat multiple sclerosis, leukemia and psoriatic arthritis.

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The list also includes Diovan, the brand name version of blood pressure treatment valsartan, generic versions of which are now in shortage after a potential carcinogen was detected in active ingredients made in China, prompting widespread recalls.

The price of Keytruda rose by about 1.5 percent, according to Reuters, which is expected to generate about $7 billion in sales for the company this year.

By contrast, the inflation rate in the USA for the 12 months through November is 2.2%. The increases on these products will not exceed 3 percent.

The cost of Gardasil increased by about 6 percent.

Allergan is reportedly setting the pace with increases of almost 10 percent on more than two dozen products, according to the Wall Street Journal.

The United States, which leaves drug pricing to market competition, has higher drug prices than in other countries where governments directly or indirectly control the costs, making it the world's most lucrative market for manufacturers.

The bill would allow other companies to create cheaper, generic versions of a drug, regardless of patents, if the average drug price is found to be higher than in Canada, the U.K., Germany, France and Japan.

But with no new policies in place to hold down prices, Pfizer has un-paused its plans and is now set to increase the price of 41 of its drugs in mid-January, as previously planned.

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