Let’s set the record straight: Brand name drug companies are solely responsible for setting and hiking prescription drug list prices — and game the system to extend market exclusivity on their products, undermine competition from more affordable alternatives in the market and keep prescription drug prices high.

Now, Big Pharma is continuing to point the finger at others through a debunked blame game meant to deflect attention and evade accountability for the pharmaceutical industry’s own egregious practices.

Millions of dollars in advertising from Big Pharma attempts to place blame for high prescription drug prices on “nonmanufacturer stakeholders,” entities that include pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs), health plans, hospitals, the government, pharmacies and others in the supply chain – in other words, everybody except brand name drug manufacturers.

Big Pharma’s campaign uses many of the same debunked and misleading arguments the industry has pushed for years to deflect blame for prescription drug prices.

Learn More About The Supply Chain Myths Big Pharma is Perpetuating

While Big Pharma pushes its supply chain blame game strategy, the industry’s repeated price hikes and skyrocketing launch prices for new drugs have contributed to an unprecedented crisis of prescription drug affordability. Meanwhile, the industry continues to engage in anti-competitive tactics to game the patent system, prolonging the profits they can make on their best-selling products and preventing patients from accessing more affordable alternatives.

Big Pharma Hiked Prices on Almost 800 Brand Name Prescription Drugs in January 2024

  • A Wall Street Journal report in January found Big Pharma hiked prices on 775 brand name prescription drugs in the first two weeks of the year, with the median price increase outpacing the current rate of inflation. The report found Big Pharma “raised list prices on 775 brand-name drugs,” in the first two weeks of 2024, “by a median of 4.5 percent,” outpacing “the rate of inflation, which ticked up to 3.4 percent in December.”

And Increased Prices on Nearly 600 Brand Name Prescription Drugs in January 2023

  • In January of 2023, Big Pharma hiked prices on hiked prices on 587 brand name drugs by an average of 5.5 percent, including treatments for serious conditions like cancer and autoimmune conditions. Examples of Big Pharma price hikes in January 2023 include:
    • AbbVie hiked prices on two of their top-selling drugs, including perennial blockbuster Humira, used to treat a variety of autoimmune conditions, and Skyrizi, a treatment for moderate to severe plaque psoriasis, both by eight percent.
    • Pfizer increased prices on dozens of drugs including Celontin, a treatment to prevent a certain type of seizure, Synarel, used to treat women with endometriosis, Xeljanz, used to treat autoimmune conditions and cancer drugs Ibrance and Xalkori.
    • GlaxoSmithKline increased the price of the company’s shingles vaccine Shingrix.
    • Bausch Health hiked the price of its plaque psoriasis treatment Siliq by nearly 10 percent.
    • GE Healthcare had the largest price, a 26.8 percent increase in the price of Omnipaque, a drug used before X-ray imaging tests to add contrast.
    • Bristol Myers Squibb hiked the price of cancer drugs Abecma and Breyanzi.

Another 100 Price Increase in July 2023

  • According to data from AnalySource, in July 2023, “59 manufacturers raise[d] prices on 105 brands.”

Big Pharma’s never-ending price hikes are outpacing inflation — escalating the crisis of affordability for Americans who face financial uncertainty purchasing their medications and imposing heavy costs on taxpayers.

White House Report Finds Big Pharma Hiked Prices Above Inflation on 48 Medicare Part B Drugs

  • In December, the Biden Administration announced that Big Pharma increased prices faster than the rate of inflation on 48 Medicare Part B drugs in the last quarter of 2023. A fact sheet released by the White House noted more than 750,000 American seniors rely on the prescription drugs, covered by Medicare Part B, that Big Pharma hit with price hikes outpacing inflation in the quarter.

Big Pharma Hiked Prices on Over 100 Drugs In July 2023 Above Rate of Inflation

  • The December announcement from the Biden-Harris Administration follows a November analysis released by the Center for American Progress (CAP), which found that Big Pharma increased prices on 112 medications above the annual inflation rate this past summer. Some of the most egregious price increases in CAP’s analysis included a 34 percent increase by Big Pharma giant Pfizer and its subsidiary Hospira on Lorazepam, an anti-anxiety medication, as well as a 478 percent increase by Blue Water Biotech on Entadfi, a medication that treats benign prostatic hyperplasia.

Several recent studies reveal just how much Big Pharma has been increasing launch prices on new products in recent years.

Median Annual Launch Price in 2022: $222,003

  • In January, Reuters released an analysis which found that the median annual price among drugs approved by the FDA in 2022 exceeded $200,000. In the second half of 2022, the median price of the 17 novel drugs approved by the FDA was $193,900, bringing the median annual price among all drugs approved in the year to $222,003.

Median Monthly Price for Newly Approved Drugs Tripled In 11 Years

  • In March, The Wall Street Journal released a report further detailing the extent to which brand name drug makers are increasingly targeting higher launch prices for new products as a way to circumvent heightened attention around the pharmaceutical industry’s price increases. The analysis found that the median monthly price for a newly approved drug nearly tripled from 2011 to 2022 – increasing from $2,624 to $7,034.

Big Pharma’s Patent Abuse Increased Costs By More Than $40 Billion in Just One Year

  • In May, The American Economic Liberties Project and the Initiative for Medicines, Access & Knowledge (I-MAK) released an analysis examining the staggering cost of Big Pharma’s anti-competitive practices on the U.S. health care system and American patients. The analysis found that Big Pharma’s anti-competitive tactics, including patent abuse, cost U.S. consumers “an additional $40.07 billion on pharmaceuticals,” in just one year, 2019.

Big Pharma’s Patent Thickets On Just Five Drugs Cost Over $16 Billion In a Single Year

  • Last January, Matrix Global Advisors released a report titled, “Patent Thickets and Lost Drug Savings,” that quantified the one-year cost of lost savings on five brand name drugs around which Big Pharma has built especially egregious patent thickets. The five drugs were AbbVie’s autoimmune drug Humira and oncology drug Imbruvica, Regeneron’s ophthalmology drug Eylea, Amgen’s autoimmune drug Enbrel and Bristol Myers Squibb’s oncology drug Opdivo.
  • The report assesses what the savings would be for these five drugs if “a steady state of competition [existed] where generics and biosimilars have achieved price discounts and uptake currently observed in the market.” Based on these calculations, the estimated one-year cost of patent thickets on each of these brand name drugs was:
    • $7.6 billion for Humira
    • $3.1 billion for Imbruvica
    • $2.5 billion for Eylea
    • $1.9 billion for Enbrel
    • $1.8 billion for Opdivo

This amounts to a total of more than $16 billion.

Voters overwhelmingly reject Big Pharma’s blame game and want policymakers to hold brand name drug companies accountable in any policies that address prescription drug prices.

  • A recent poll commissioned by CSRxP found voters squarely place the blame for high prescription drug prices on Big Pharma. 58 percent of voters name pharmaceutical companies as most responsible for rising prescription drug prices, 40 percent more than the next most blamed entity: The U.S. government (18 percent).


  • Read more about why Big Pharma’s bogus rhetoric on innovation doesn’t add up HERE.
  • Learn more about the cost of Big Pharma’s patent abuse HERE.
  • Read more on how Big Pharma is setting record-high launch prices on new brand name drugs HERE and HERE.
  • Read about how Big Pharma is delaying new drugs that could help patients to boost profits HERE.
  • Learn more about why voters see through Big Pharma’s blame game and want lawmakers to focus on holding Big Pharma accountable HERE.
  • Learn more about market-based solutions to hold Big Pharma accountable and lower prescription drug prices HERE.