Prices for hundreds of prescription drugs in the US have shot up.
The prices of nearly 500 medications have gone up since Dec. 31. 2019. On average, the increase has been about 5 percent.
Among the specific drugs with already raised prices are Eliquis (used to reduce risk of stroke in people with an irregular heartbeat), Truvada (an antiretroviral used to prevent HIV transmission), and Humira (used to treat some types of arthritis). Click here to see if your medication is effected list ADV medication comparison from the spread sheet.
The drug with the biggest price hike — 13 percent — was Cotempla XR, which is used to treat ADHD and narcolepsy.
Consumers aren’t typically affected by these price increases since it affects what insurers pay, but the list price is still a good proxy for the price of a drug. In essence, rising list prices lead to rising out-of-pocket costs for patients.
What’s the impact?
Experts have differing opinions about the implications of these price increases.
On one hand, it speaks to larger trends of rising drug prices, which potentially could put needed medication out of reach for some people.
On the other hand, prices for goods regularly increase. Most consumers won’t directly feel the impact of these prices hikes.
What these increases mean may depend on, in part, whether you need a drug whose price is rising and if that cost may eventually get passed down to you by your insurer in some way.
Out-of-pocket costs are rising for people in most parts of the United States, driven in part by deductibles that have risen faster than incomes over the past decade, according to a study released in November by the Commonwealth Fund, a New York–based think tank focusing on healthcare.
What insurers think?
The price increases haven’t gone unnoticed by insurance companies.
“What makes these — and all — price hikes stand out is drug prices are out of control, and Big Pharma continues to raise the prices for all Americans,” according to Kristine Grow, senior vice president of communications for the trade group America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP).
“Not only does that mean higher prices at the pharmacy counter, it also means higher premiums and other healthcare costs for everyone. And it particularly hits hard those people who do not have insurance coverage,” she said.
Grow adds the price increases in the first week of 2020 are an indication of bigger trends.
She points to a 2019 report that several thousand drugs saw their prices increase in the first of last year, and that on average, those increases were five times the rate of inflation.
Drug makers usually raise prices at various points throughout a year. As for what price increases could be yet to come later this year, Grow says, only the manufacturers can know.
“We can’t speak to what drug makers plan to do. They alone set the prices, and they alone decide whether, when, and by how much to raise those prices,” she said.
Price hikes in 2020
|Medication Name||2018 increas||2019 increas||2020 increas||$US RETAIL||$ ADV Price|
|Lo Loestrin FE||%9.5||%9.5||%5||$178.08|
Curtesy of Matt Berger on January 12, 2020 – Healthline | Photo by James Yarema on Unsplash