|WASHINGTON, D.C. — A new analysis from Patients For Affordable Drugs found that more than 100 drug corporations raised list prices on 636 drugs in the first week of January, with a median price hike of 4.99 percent — more than four times the rate of inflation. Big Pharma’s price hikes outpace those from the first week of January 2020, when pharma increased the prices of 524 drugs.
“As Americans are reeling from a devastating pandemic, pharma proves its commitment is first and last to the bottom line by raising prices on hundreds of drugs,” said David Mitchell, a cancer patient and the founder of Patients For Affordable Drugs. “We hear from patients every day who are struggling under the burden of drugs priced almost four times as high as in other wealthy nations. They want elected officials to deliver on their promises to lower drug prices now.”
These increases come as millions of Americans face sickness, unemployment, and loss of insurance due to COVID-19. Despite Big Pharma’s efforts to downplay the impact of list prices, the metric matters a great deal. Two-thirds of Americans pay for some or all of the cost of their medication based on list price. That includes about 9 percent of Americans who are uninsured, 40 percent with high deductible plans, and 18 percent with Medicare.
Based on data from AnalySource, the analysis found that 95 percent of price hikes were on brand-name drugs, and 99 percent of price hikes surpassed the current rate of inflation of 1.2 percent. Other key findings include:
- The two costliest drugs for Medicare, Eliquis and Revlimid, saw price hikes of 6 percent and 4.5 percent, respectively. In 2019, Medicare spent$7.3 billion on Eliquis and $4.6 billion on Revlimid.
- For the 19th year in a row, pharma giant AbbVie hiked the price of the world’s best-selling drug, Humira, which raked in $21 billion in sales in 2019. This year’s 7.4 percent hike brings the price for two pens, enough for two weeks to one month of treatment, to $5,968.
- Pfizer raised prices on more products — 93 — than any other drug corporation, including on the cancer blockbuster Ibrance. The company also nabbed the dubious honor last January, when it increased the prices of 58 drugs.
You can find the full data set and methodology here.