Wall Street Journal Analysis Finds Median Monthly Price for Newly Approved Drugs Nearly Tripled in 10 Years, from $2,624 in 2011 to $7,034 in 2022

A new analysis released this week by The Wall Street Journal reveals 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.

As the Wall Street Journal outlines, the strategy by drug makers to set increasingly egregious launch prices on their new products is designed to avoid some of the unsavory attention Big Pharma has received in recent years due to their yearly price increases: “As drugmakers face rising pressure to rein in repeat or annual price hikes on existing drugs, new brand-name medicines are coming to market with ever-higher price tags on day one. Previously, companies would carefully consider whether to crack big price barriers when launching a drug, like $5,000 and then $10,000 a month. Now, many new drugs for cancer and rare diseases routinely exceed those price thresholds, often coming in at more than $20,000 a month.”

Examples of high launch prices highlighted in the analysis include:

The piece notes that recent positive progress made by Congress toward cracking down on Big Pharma price hikes that outpace the rate of inflation on some drugs does not protect against escalating launch prices — emphasizing the importance of market-based solutions to further crack down on brand name drug companies’ egregious anti-competitive and price-gouging practices.

The Wall Street Journal writes, “the new law doesn’t directly stop drugmakers from charging a high price for a brand new drug at launch, and drug-price watchdogs say there are few checks on how high the price can go.”

Read the full WSJ piece on brand name drug makers’ increasingly egregious launch prices HERE.

Read about how brand name drug makers set a record for out-of-control launch prices in 2022 HERE.

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

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