Jul 11, 2022

PhRMA Ads Falsely Claim the Industry’s Egregious Pricing Practices Don’t Drive Prescription Drug Inflation

Amid unprecedented momentum to hold Big Pharma accountable and lower prescription drug prices, the pharmaceutical industry is once again trying to deflect blame with false rhetoric meant to evade responsibility for brand name drug companies’ egregious practices.

New advertising from the Pharmaceutical Researchers and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) claims “prescription drugs are not fueling inflation.” The facts are clear however, Big Pharma’s price hikes have consistently outpaced inflation and caused rising costs for consumers.

Get a Second Opinion to learn about how Big Pharma’s egregious practices have caused prescription drug prices to rise at rates faster than inflation here:


Big Pharma’s never-ending price hikes have outpaced inflation for years – escalating the crisis of affordability for Americans who face financial uncertainty purchasing their medications and imposing heavy costs on taxpayers.

A recent analysis from the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) found Big Pharma hiked prices faster than the rate of inflation on 23 of the top 25 most popular prescription drugs in the Medicare Part D program in 2020. Big Pharma’s faster-than-inflation price hikes included all three of the top drugs for highest gross spending in the Part D program, Eliquis, Revlimid and Xarelto. Drug companies’ price hikes also outpaced inflation on 16 of the top 25 best-selling drugs in the Medicare Part B program.

The analysis also found drug prices for half of all drugs covered by the Medicare program increased faster than the rate of inflation between 2019 and 2020, including half of all drugs covered in Medicare Part D (50 percent of 3,343 drugs) and nearly half of all drugs covered in Part B (48 percent of 568 drugs). Among drugs covered by Part D with price hikes exceeding inflation the median increase was 5.6 percent, and among those covered by Part B the median increase was 5.4 percent.

A 2021 report from AARP Public Policy Institute found that between 2019 and 2020, retail prices for 260 widely used brand name prescription drugs increased by 2.9 percent, more than two times faster than general inflation (1.3 percent).

A separate report from AARP Public Policy Institute found that total Medicare Part D spending on 50 top brand-name drugs was $38 billion higher between 2015 and 2019 than it would have been if drug manufacturers had not increased their prices faster than the corresponding rate of inflation.


Big Pharma traditionally hikes prescription drug prices in two major batches each year — the first starting in January and the second starting in June. In January of this year alone, Big Pharma hiked prices on 791 brand name medications by an average of 4.9 percent, including on treatments for serious conditions like cancer and HIV.

Recent batches of biennial price hikes from Big Pharma include:

In January 2022, Big Pharma increased prices on 791 brand name medications by an average of 4.9 percent.
In June and July 2021, Big Pharma hiked prices on 67 brand name prescription drugs by an average of 3.5 percent.
In January 2021, Big Pharma raised the list price of 822 brand name prescription drugs by an average of 4.6 percent.
In July 2020: Despite calls to suspend traditional mid-year price hikes while millions of Americans grappled with economic uncertainty caused by the COVID-19 crisis, Big Pharma increased prices on more than 65 brand name drugs.
In January 2020: Big Pharma hiked prices on more than 600 drugs by an average of 5.2 percent.
In July 2019: Big Pharma hiked prices on 104 drugs by an average of 13.1 percent.

Big Pharma companies among those that hiked prices to start 2022 included:

Pfizer hiked prices on more than 100 drugs, including a whopping 16.8 percent price increase on its popular drug Solu-Cortef which 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.

Lawmakers must see through Big Pharma’s defensive and deflective tactics and capitalize on the growing momentum surrounding prescription drug prices to finally deliver on repeated promises to lower prescription drug prices and hold Big Pharma accountable.

Get a Second Opinion on Big Pharma’s blame game advertising HERE.

Read more about why Big Pharma’s bogus rhetoric on innovation doesn’t add up HERE.

Learn more about market-based solutions to hold Big Pharma accountable HERE.