Dec 4, 2019

Analysis of Multiple Sclerosis Drug Pricing Undercuts Drug Makers’ Bogus “Innovation” Rhetoric

A new study published in the American Academy of Neurology finds the staggering price of medications to treat multiple sclerosis (MS), a rare neurological disorder, is driven largely by profit motivations – not research and development (R&D). These findings undermine Big Pharma’s bogus rhetoric that out-of-control drug prices support innovation and that reforms to lower drug prices could threaten new cures.

Key findings from the study include:

  • Over $80,000: The average price of MS disease-modifying therapies (DMTs).
  • More Than 2X: From 2010-2017, list prices for DMTs more than doubled.
  • Profit Motivations Determined List Prices: Experts confirm that initial pricing decisions were determined by market considerations like competitors’ prices, not R&D costs.

The study concludes:

“Contrary to prevailing narratives that underscore drug development costs, findings from our interviews suggest that the existing price ecosystem, overall corporate growth, international pricing disparities, and supply chain–related distortions may play a more central role in drug pricing decision.”

Earlier this year, The Campaign for Sustainable Rx Pricing (CSRxP) released a study demonstrating Big Pharma invests more heavily in profits, advertising and corporate overhead than in R&D. The study, conducted in partnership with GlobalData, found the largest pharmaceutical manufacturers in the U.S. invest more than twice as much in advertising, profits, and corporate overhead as they do in R&D.

Big Pharma’s innovation rhetoric clearly doesn’t hold water and Congress must act to hold brand name drug makers accountable for their egregious practices and lower prescription drug prices.

There are a number of measures with bipartisan support in both chambers of Congress. Lawmakers must continue to work together, across party lines, to ensure these measures are passed into law before year-end.

See a CSRxP infographic detailing measures with significant bipartisan consensus in Congress HERE.

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