February 26, 2017
Jonathan D. Rockoff and Peter Loftus
Facing mounting criticism about prices, drug companies put some limits on their increases this year.
Prescription-drug makers traditionally raise list prices in January. This year, they didn’t raise prices for as many drugs as last year and imposed fewer boosts of 10% or greater, according to an analysis by the investment firm Raymond James & Associates.
About 5.5% of the increases reached the 10% level. A year ago, 15% did, and two years ago, 20% did.
Even so, the median drug-price increase was little changed from last year, at 8.9%, still far above the U.S. inflation rate of around 2%.
Self-policing on prices hasn’t been universal. Marathon Pharmaceuticals LLC caused an outcry two weeks ago when it set an $89,000-a-year starting price for a decades-old muscular-dystrophy treatment that Americans could get from abroad for $1,600 a year or less until Marathon won U.S. approval to sell it. After criticism in Congress and elsewhere, Marathon said it would delay the launch.