Drug Prices are on the Move

Drug prices are on the rise and there doesn't seem to be an end in sight. According to research done by the Scripps Research Translational Institute, the cost of almost all commonly used brand-name drugs increased over the course of five years.

Prices of popular drugs for many major illnesses, such as cancer and diabetes, are on the rise. Researchers found that there is no end in sight for these increases. In fact, prices are expected to double within seven to eight years.

Drug Prices on the Upswing

To analyze drug prices, researchers at Scripps Research Translational Institute reviewed Blue Cross Blue Shield pharmacy claims of 49 popular brand-name drugs, which had six years’ worth of data from 2012 to 2017. Each of the drugs analyzed in the study had more than 100,000 claims.

The researchers found that all but one of these 49 drugs saw a yearly or biannual price increase in both insurer and out-of-pocket costs. The cost of 36 of the drugs increased by more than 50% over the six-year period, while the cost of another 16 of the drugs also more than doubled. The average increase of the drugs studied was a staggering 76%. The study also concluded that brand name drug prices still rose even when generic drugs were available.

Drugs Most Affected

Although nearly all of the drugs saw a price increase, some were hit harder than others.  Insulins, such as Lantus, Novolog and Humalog, had some of the biggest increases. Enbrel and Humira, which are commonly used to treat rheumatoid arthritis and other inflammatory conditions, also saw some of the largest increases. For example, the cost of Humira was $1,940 in January of 2012. It increased to $4,338 by December of 2017. 

Prices to Continue to Rise

The study found that the median annual price increase was 9.5%. This suggests that the cost of popular brand name drugs will double in price every seven to eight years.

Researchers do not see an end to the price increases any time soon.

The cost of medications for major illnesses, such as cancer and diabetes, will continue to increase. This is according to the big pharma recent trends, even as Congress investigates the reason for these significant price increases. In fact, according to NBC News, in 2018, Novartis raised the costs on more than 30 different medications for multiple sclerosis, psoriatic arthritis and Tasigna, which is used to treat leukemia, from 4.5 to 9.9%. 

It doesn't appear that drug prices will reduce any time soon. Patients can try to help reduce costs by switching to generic versions of popular brand name drugs when possible or learning more about assistance programs offered by pharmaceutical companies.

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7/3/2019 6:00:00 AM
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When i was 62, i threw away prescriptions for lipitor, thiazide, vicodin, and fosomax. I never filled them, and I will always be so glad. I walked on crutches untill I could finally have successful knee surgery. I brought down my blood pressure an cholesterol levels with daily old fashioned oats, cinnamon, fruit, andwalnuts. I am 85, strong , healthy, med free, and pain free. i have seen friends and loved ones lose their minds and die from prescribed drugs. metformin isd deadly! Statins are deadly. Everybody should quit going broke to literally torture and kill themselves!
Posted by Bobbie Sena
I am hoping that the bill Trump signed about all costs now have to show will cause some competitiveness and bring the costs down. I know they have to do research to find new things to help but that needs to come from other sources.
Posted by Vicki
This news doesn't surprise me at all. The unrelenting greed and extortion big pharma has no heart, just as long as the powers that be get the big bonuses they do not deserve for the mistreatment of the general public!
Posted by Robert begin
Members of congress are being paid by big pharma so when the fox is in charge of the chicken coup don't expect prices to go down.
Posted by Gary
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