Prices of popular brand-name drugs increased at nearly ten times the cost of inflation

Prices increased for every brand-name drug of the top 20 most-prescribed brand-name drugs for seniors in the last five years. On average, prices for these drugs increased 12 percent every year for the last five years—approximately ten times higher than the average annual rate of inflation.  Twelve out of the 20 most commonly prescribed brand-name drugs for seniors had their prices increased by over 50 percent in the five-year period. Six of the 20 had price increases of over 100 percent. In one case, the weighted average wholesale acquisition cost for a single drug increased by 477 percent over a five-year period. 

Although 48 million fewer prescriptions were written for the top 20 most commonly prescribed brand-name drugs for seniors between 2012 and 2017, total sales revenue resulting from these prescriptions increased by almost $8.5 billion during the same period.

In 2016 the US spent nearly twice as much on healthcare as 10 other high-income countries. A recent report found that prices of labor and goods, including pharmaceuticals and devices, and high administrative costs seem to be the main reasons the US spends so much on healthcare.

PhRMA has been very active talking about new treatments on the horizon, but evidently they are ignoring the fire in their own backyard.  This report is going to add a lot more fuel to the fire and is another reason why Congress is going to get involved in the drug pricing debate moving us a step closer to a single payer system.

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