Prices of over 350 pharmaceutical drugs set to rise: Report

Reuters reports that numerous makers of pharmaceutical drugs are about to raise the prices of over 350 unique drugs. 

Reuters obtained most of the information for its report from the healthcare research firm 3 Axis Advisors.

What to expect:

Among those drugmakers that will be raising drug prices, here in the United States, are Pfizer Inc., GlaxoSmithKline PLC, Bristol Myers Squibb, AstraZeneca PLC, and Sanofi SA.

These particular price increases are expected to take place in early January 2023, and the increase will be to the drug’s list price.

Reuters, in its report, provides some specific examples of the price increases that will be taking place.

The outlet, for example, reports that Bristol Myers Squibb will raise the cost of Abecma and Breyanzi by 9%, Pfizer will increase the cost of Zeljanz by 6% and Ibrance and Xalkori by 7.9%, and AstraZeneca will raise the cost of Calquence by 3%.

Why?

The Washington Examiner reports:

The price hikes are in response to a number of factors, mainly inflation, supply problems, and the Biden administration’s Inflation Reduction Act, which will allow Medicare, the national government’s health insurance program for seniors and people with certain disabilities, to negotiate several drug prices directly starting in 2026.

In Reuters’s report several drug companies attempt to justify the increase in drug prices on various grounds.

A spokesperson for AstraZeneca, for example, said considerations include “R&D investments . . . clinical value, size of patient population, government/payer coverage requirements, patient affordability, competition and other market conditions.”

Over 1,400 drugs saw price increases in 2022

None of this is particularly new. The fact of the matter is that pharmaceutical drug makers have been increasing drug prices at a high rate recently.

Reuters reports:

In 2022, drugmakers raised prices on more than 1,400 drugs according to data published by 46Brooklyn, a drug pricing non-profit that is related to 3 Axis. That is the most increases since 2015.

According to Reuters:

The median drug price increase was 4.9% last year, while the average increase was 6.4%, according to 46brooklyn. Both figures are lower than inflation rates in the United States. Drugmakers largely have kept increases at 10% or below – an industry practice followed by many big drugmakers since they came under fire for too many price hikes in the middle of the last decade.

Reuters reports that January tends to be the month when most drug price increases are announced.

Accordingly, it is expected that this initial report is just the start of it. More increases – in addition to this initial 350 or so – are expected.