Healthcare is undergoing a seismic shift as pharmaceutical giants like Pfizer, Sanofi, and Takeda Pharmaceutical plan to increase the prices of over 700 drugs in the United States this month.
This revelation, gleaned from data analyzed by healthcare research firm 3 Axis Advisors and non-profit 46brooklyn, marks a significant development that could have far-reaching consequences. If you frequently use one of these drugs then your individual healthcare costs might be increasing this year.
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Why drug prices are on the rise
As you brace for a wave of price hikes, it's important to understand that numerous factors contribute to this complex pricing war. Your price hikes could be temporary, as well, as new rules are changing how drug prices are negotiated.
The current surge is not only a response to higher inflation and manufacturing costs but is also intricately linked to the forthcoming publication of significantly discounted prices for ten high-cost drugs by the Biden Administration in September.
Under President Joe Biden's Inflation Reduction Act, there's a shift as the government's Medicare health program gains the authority to directly negotiate prices for certain drugs starting in 2026.
Moreover, looming concerns about disruptions to global supply chains due to prolonged conflicts in the Middle East and Ukraine add another layer of uncertainty. You may want to check out the full list to see if you need to get ahead financially to prepare for added costs to your monthly budget.
Popular drugs with increased prices already in 2024
The pharmaceutical scoreboard shows Pfizer has the most announced price hikes, announcing price increases on 124 drugs, with an additional 22 drugs under its Hospira arm. Following suit is Takeda-owned Baxalta with 53 planned increases, and Belgian drugmaker UCB Pharma intends to raise prices on 40 unique drugs.
Sanofi, despite earlier commitments to cut prices on prescribed insulin products, is set to raise prices on vaccines by 9% in January. The trend extends beyond established drugs, as prices for newly launched medications have hit record levels.
These developments spotlight a nuanced dance between market dynamics, regulatory changes, and the industry's response to evolving healthcare needs. Some popular drugs seeing price hikes include:
- Ozempic: Will increase from $936 to $970 for a month’s supply
- Mounjaro: Will increase from $1,023 to $1,070 for a month’s supply
- Dupixent: Will increase from $3,584 to $3,800 for a month’s supply
- Wellbutrin: Will increase from $2,113 to $2,322 for a month’s supply
- Eliquis: Will increase from $560 to $594 for a month’s supply
- Shingrix: Will increase from $185 per dose to $199 per dose
If one of the drugs you regularly take is on the list then you might want to consider some ways you can avoid throwing money away on other purchases so you can save more to pay for your prescriptions.
How to find the full list of drugs increasing in cost
You can access the full list of drug price increases using 46brooklyn’s database. You can search for your drug’s name or use the name of the manufacturer to search for a price increase.
It’s important to remember that listed increases are for the wholesale retail price, not necessarily what you will pay once insurance has covered their portion of the payment.
Outlook for drug prices for the rest of 2024
As the pharmaceutical industry readies itself for regulatory shifts and confronts geopolitical uncertainties, the outlook for drug prices in 2024 remains dynamic. It is something that everyone impacted will want to pay close attention to as the year progresses.
Noteworthy is the industry's commitment to making sure increases never surpass 10%, aligning with a practice adopted after facing criticism for excessive price hikes. Despite concerns about inflation, the industry's approach appears measured, with median price increases hovering around 5% since 2019.
Some prescriptions are getting cost reductions
Three companies, including GlaxoSmithKline — which last week said it would cut prices on some asthma, herpes, and anti-epileptic drugs in 2024 — said they would cut prices on at least 15 drugs this month according to the 3Axis data, reports Reuters.
The cuts come after several companies have already announced a decrease in insulin prices in 2023 to avoid penalties that would have been imposed by the 2021 American Rescue Plan Act if they had been kept high. The announced decreases could be a good sign for things to come as the year rolls on.
You can check the database above to see which drugs are decreasing in price as well.
While pharmaceutical giants embark on a strategy of measured price increases, concerns linger about the potential impact on patient access and healthcare premiums. As the industry navigates evolving trends, it underscores the importance of staying informed and seeking insights from reputable sources.
The pharmaceutical puzzle continues to unfold, revealing a market where market forces, regulatory changes, and healthcare needs converge in shaping the trajectory of drug prices in the year ahead.
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