Jan 7, 2022

Brand Name Drug Companies’ Business-as-Usual Approach to Price Increases Highlights Urgency for Congress to Hold the Industry Accountable

In case you missed it, Big Pharma has hiked prices on 588 prescription drugs in the first few days of 2022 – with more price increases on the way in the coming days and weeks.

In the first week of January alone, pharmaceutical giants Pfizer, GlaxoSmithKline, Bristol Myers Squibb and Gilead were among the brand name drug companies to hike prices on drugs in their portfolio.

  • Pfizer hiked prices on more than 100 drugs, including levelling a whopping 16.8 percent price increase on its popular drug Solu-Cortef that treats various conditions such as arthritis, blood diseases, and certain cancers.
  • GlaxoSmithKline raised prices on more than 30 drugs, with cancer drug Zejula and seizure drug Lamictal topping the list with seven percent price increases each.
  • Bristol Myers Squibb raised prices on more than a dozen of their drugs.
  • Gilead Sciences raised prices 5.6 percent on HIV drugs Biktarvy and Descovy.

Big Pharma is maintaining a business-as-usual approach to price-gouging patients — even as the American public faces fresh health care challenges associated with the Omicron variant of COVID-19 and as Congress debates solutions to hold the industry accountable and lower drug prices.

Read what drug pricing advocates had to say this week as Big Pharma began rolling out major January price hikes:

Lauren Aronson, executive director, Campaign for Sustainable Rx Pricing (CSRxP): “Big Pharma’s business-as-usual approach to hiking prices, during a global pandemic and while millions of Americans face financial uncertainty affording their medications, underscores the urgency for policymakers to hold the pharmaceutical industry accountable.”

David Mitchell, founder, Patients For Affordable Drugs: “At a time when Americans are struggling with the surging omicron variant and prices for prescription drugs that are four times what other wealthy nations pay, Big Pharma began the new year yet again hitting Americans with unjustified and widespread price hikes… Clearly, the need for drug pricing reform is as urgent as ever — Americans are struggling to afford the medications they need and have waited too long for relief.”

Nancy LeaMond, executive vice president and chief advocacy and engagement officer, AARP: “These kinds of price increases on other consumer goods would rightfully demand swift action, but seniors have been waiting decades for relief from out-of-control drug prices.”

According to GoodRx, the 588 brand name drugs that have seen price hikes thus far in 2022 have increased by an average of five percent and mark Big Pharma’s fourth major round of price hikes during the pandemic. In January 2021, Big Pharma raised the list price of 822 brand name prescription drugs by an average of 4.6 percent. Then, in June and July 2021, Big Pharma hiked prices on 67 brand name prescription drugs by an average of 3.5 percent.

The latest round of Big Pharma price hikes further underscores the need for leaders in Washington to urgently advance market-based solutions to hold the industry accountable. Check out some of the coverage on Big Pharma’s first major round of price hikes in 2022 here:

Read CSRxP’s statement on Big Pharma’s New Year price hikes HERE.

Read more on market-based solutions to hold Big Pharma accountable and lower prescription drug prices HERE.