Aug 16, 2022

Analysis Finds Brand Name Manufacturers Bringing New Drugs to Market with Increasingly Staggering Price Tags

In case you missed it, a new Reuters analysis found Big Pharma is on pace to break records with out-of-control launch prices on new prescription drugs coming to market this year, further underscoring how brand name drug companies set egregious prices on their products to boost profits.

Reuters analyzed the pricing of 13 novel drugs approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat chronic conditions this year. According to the analysis, the median annual price of the new treatments was $257,000 — compared with a median annual price of $180,000 for 30 medications approved in 2021. Seven other treatments brought to market in 2022, not among the 13 novel drugs, also had annual price tags over $200,000. Johnson & Johnson’s Carvykti, used to treat Multiple Myeloma, launched in February at the highest price of 2022 drugs brought to market to date, with a staggering price tag of $465,000.

When Reuters reached out to the 13 manufacturers that launched new drugs this year, six did not respond or only offered partial information such as per vial costs. Sanofi initially offered a per vial cost before finally admitting the annual price of their drug Enjaymo was in fact $280,000. Three other drug makers initially offered limited information before finally confirming the whopping annual price tag. Eli Lilly re-upped a common refrain from Big Pharma by attempting to shift blame onto others in the supply chain to avoid accountability for the price they set on their product.

As Reuters cites, Dr. Ameet Sarwaptwari, a Harvard University law professor specializing in health care, said the Big Pharma companies’ incomplete answers “could be ‘an attempt to distract’ from high annual costs.”

An academic study published in The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) from researchers affiliated with Harvard University and Brigham and Women’s Hospital in June demonstrated how Big Pharma has been dramatically increasing launch prices on new products that are likely to have lengthy market exclusivity for years.

The study found Big Pharma companies hiked launch prices by 20 percent every year for 14 years — and that nearly half of all brand name prescription drugs now cost more than $150,000 per year when they are brought to market.

Read the full analysis from Reuters, “Newly-launched U.S. drugs head toward record-high prices in 2022,” HERE.

Read the research letter published in JAMA, “Trends in Prescription Drug Launch Prices, 2008-2021,” HERE.

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