Nov 12, 2019

Drug Makers Cry ‘False Narrative’ Over Latest Repot Highlighting Toll of the Industry’s Egregious Pricing Practices

Last week, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released a new report attributing premium increases for Medicare Part B beneficiaries to rising drug prices. Like clockwork, Big Pharma immediately attempted to evade responsibility by claiming that “the administration is spinning a false narrative about rising drug costs.”

At a time when one-in-four Americans are struggling to afford their prescription drug prices as brand name drug makers continue to hike list prices at astronomical rates, this latest Big Pharma excuse comes off as more than a little tone deaf. Here are the facts:



  • In the first half of this year, drug prices rose by 10.5 percent, a pace four times the rate of inflation.


  • In 2017 and 2018, brand name drug makers raised the price of seven of the most widely prescribed drugs in the country with no evidence that the drugs had been improved – accounting for an additional $5.1 billion burden on patients, taxpayers and health plans.


  • From 2016 to 2017, Big Pharma hiked the price of 20 of the top 25 Medicare Part D drugs between three to nine times the rate of inflation.

And according to CMS:

The increase in the Part B premiums and deductible is largely due to rising spending on physician-administered drugs. These higher costs have a ripple effect and result in higher Part B premiums and deductible … Currently, for Part B, the law requires CMS to pay the average sales price for a drug and also pays physicians a percentage of a drug’s sale price. This incentivizes drug companies to set prices higher and for physicians to prescribe more expensive drugs – because that leads to a higher Medicare payment. 

Without concrete action from policymakers in Washington, it is clear Big Pharma will continue to avoid responsibility and play the blame game while shamelessly price-gouging American patients and taxpayers. It’s time for Congress to pass bipartisan, market-based measures to hold Big Pharma accountable and lower prices.

Learn more about measures with significant bipartisan momentum in Congress HERE.