KEY TAKEAWAY: So far in 2019, more than 3,400 drugs have boosted their prices, a 17% increase compared with the roughly 2,900 drug price increases at the same time in 2018, according to a new analysis by Rx Saving Solutions, a consultant to health plans and employers. The average price hike for those 3,400 drugs stands at 10.5% or about 5 times the rate of inflation, the study found.

KEY TAKEAWAY: Google searches for health-related information doubled among patients in the week before an ER visit, with more than half searching for clinical information related to the reason for their visits, such as the symptoms they were experiencing or potential illnesses they believed they might have. Another 15 percent searched for the location of the emergency department or other logistical information. Patients often searched health-related terms multiple times before heading to the hospital.

KEY SUMMARY: For years, businesses have responded to rising health care costs primarily by shifting more of those costs onto their employees, through higher deductibles and other cost-sharing. The average deductible is now 212% higher than it was in 2008. Employers cover more people than any other insurer and account for about 20% of all health care spending — almost $700 billion in 2017. With rising, costs companies may decide to form their own health insurance organizations.

IN SUMMARY: A study, in the journal JAMA Network Open, found a substantial industry-wide rise in insurer and out-of-pocket costs for top-selling, brand-name prescription drugs, highlighting one of the foremost problems in health care today: unimpeded price increases in the pharmaceutical market. Pharma companies are daring the government to intervene in the drug pricing debate.