[Ip-health] WaPo: Prescription drug prices jumped more than 10 percent in 2015, analysis finds

Jamie Love james.love at keionline.org
Mon Jan 11 11:09:50 PST 2016

Note that every 10 percent increase in U.S. drug prices is more costly than
the entire U.S. NIH budget.

On Mon, Jan 11, 2016 at 1:48 PM, Andrew S. Goldman <
andrew.goldman at keionline.org> wrote:

> https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/to-your-health/wp/2016/01/11/prescription-drug-prices-jumped-more-than-10-percent-in-2015/
> Prescription drug prices jumped more than 10 percent in 2015, analysis
> finds
> By Brady Dennis January 11 at 9:11 AM
> Drug prices were big news in 2015, thanks in large part to “Pharma bro”
> Martin Shkreli, who drew outrage for hiking the price of a life-saving drug
> by 5,000 percent. Such eye-popping increases were rare. But plenty of drugs
> became more expensive during the past year.
> How much did prescription drug prices rise overall in 2015?
> More than 10 percent — well in excess of the U.S. inflation rate —
> according to an analysis released Monday by Truveris, a health-care data
> company that tracks drug prices. The firm analyzes data involving hundreds
> of millions of payments that public and private insurers, businesses and
> patients make each year to U.S. pharmacies. The result is an index that
> measures the average price of prescription drugs, driven by the most
> commonly prescribed medications.
> “We’re in our third year of double-digit [increases],” said A.J. Loiacono,
> the firm’s chief innovation officer, adding that the increases occurred
> across virtually every drug category. “Double-digit inflation is
> concerning. I don’t care if it’s for gas or food; it’s rare.”
> Truveris found that over the past year, the price of branded drugs — those
> still on patent — rose 14.77 percent. Specialty drugs, which often are used
> to treat complex or rare conditions and tend to carry high price tags, rose
> 9.21 percent. Even generic drugs, which historically have tended to get
> cheaper over time, rose 2.93 percent.
> Nearly every class of drugs experienced an uptick in prices, Loiacono said,
> but some conditions saw bigger bumps than others. Drugs that treat the
> symptoms of menopause, for example, rose nearly 34 percent last year. Those
> that treat gout: 33 percent. Medications for erectile dysfunction: 20
> percent.
> Despite the growing public spotlight on the cost of prescription drugs,
> Monday’s analysis showed that price increases during 2015 were roughly
> similar to those the year before. In 2014, according to Truveris, Americans
> saw a 10.9 percent increase in the cost of prescription medications, also
> across nearly every drug class.
> Last month, the federal government calculated that prescription drug
> spending hit $297.7 billion in 2014 — part of the country's $3 trillion in
> health spending. That's a jump of more than 12 percent, the largest annual
> increase in more than a decade. A new generation of specialized drugs and
> price increases on existing medications helped to drive that spike, and
> officials have predicted that annual spending on medications will grow 6.3
> percent on average through 2024.
> The pharmaceutical industry has long maintained that drug costs represent
> only a fraction of overall health costs in the country, that groundbreaking
> treatments such as new drugs for hepatitis C will save money over the long
> term and that innovative medications take many years — and billions of
> dollars — to develop. In addition, generic drugs account for nearly 90
> percent of all U.S. prescriptions.
> Shkreli is now fighting securities fraud charges, and he has resigned from
> the company he was leading when he raised the cost of an antiparasitic drug
> to $750 from $13.50 per pill. But from the halls of Congress to the
> presidential campaign trail, the much broader issue of drugs costs in the
> United States is unlikely to fade in 2016.
> Some drug companies seem to recognize that fact and already are doing their
> best to remain beneath the radar in the coming year.
> Loiacono said data from the last quarter of 2015 already shows a slowing in
> the price increases of many drugs. He expects some of that caution to carry
> over into 2016.
> “They are being sensitive to this issue,” he said of manufacturers. “They
> are aware a lot of people are watching.”
> --
> Andrew S. Goldman
> Counsel, Policy and Legal Affairs
> Knowledge Ecology International
> andrew.goldman at keionline.org // www.twitter.com/ASG_KEI
> tel.: +1.202.332.2670
> www.keionline.org
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James Love.  Knowledge Ecology International
KEI DC tel: +1.202.332.2670, US Mobile: +1.202.361.3040, Geneva Mobile:
+41.76.413.6584, twitter.com/jamie_love

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