January 26, 2021 Press Releases

Hoping We Wouldn’t Notice? Pharma Spreads Out Its New Year Price Hikes

WASHINGTON, D.C. —Thirty-five drug corporations waited until the spotlight on new year price hikes had faded and then tried to quietly make nearly 150 additional increases on top-selling prescription drugs, according to data from AnalySource. So far, drug corporations have raised the prices of 783 drugs in January 2021 alone. While more than 100 other corporations received scrutiny for the much-anticipated Jan. 1 price hikes, the companies that raised prices in the second and third weeks of the year laid low. From Jan. 6 to Jan. 20, drug companies increased prices by a median of 5 percent, with every hike exceeding the rate of inflation.

“You take your eyes off of drug corporations and they will try to sneak one by you. There is just no justification for almost 800 January 2021 price increases with a median amount far in excess of the rate of inflation. People are struggling with the pandemic, but for Big Pharma, it’s always one priority — maximize profits at the expense of the patients the industry is supposed to serve,” said David Mitchell, a cancer patient and the founder of Patients For Affordable Drugs.

Janssen, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson, led the pack with price hikes on 27 products from Jan. 6 to Jan. 20, including on its top-selling drug, Stelara. Novartis and Merck announced hikes on top-selling drugs. Other takeaways from the AnalySource data include:

  • Janssen raised the price on Stelara for the 17th time since 2010. The drug, which treats a variety of autoimmune diseases, is now priced at over $12,000 per vial.
  • Novartis’ Cosentyx has gone up in price by 73 percent in just six years. The company hiked the price by 7 percent this month — five times the rate of inflation.
  • Merck hiked the price of Januvia by nearly 5 percent. The drug is used to treat type 2 diabetes, a condition that puts patients at high risk for complications from COVID-19. Januvia was the fourth most expensivedrug for Medicare in 2019.

AnalySource® as reprinted with permission by First DataBank Inc. All rights reserved. © (2021). Please refer to http://www.fdbhealth.com/policies/drug-pricing-policy/ for more information.



Patients For Affordable Drugs is the only independent national patient organization focused exclusively on achieving policy changes to lower the price of prescription drugs.