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Novartis, Allergan, Merck Among Drug Price Hikes in 2020


January 06, 2020

Despite heavy scrutiny surrounding high drug prices, 2020 brings a wave of increased pricing by pharmaceutical manufacturers; Novartis, Allergan, and Merck are among the companies adding to the growing list of more expensive products.

The first three days of 2020 saw increased pricing for more than 445 prescription medicines which according to an analysis conducted by health care research firm, 2 Axis Advisors, is above average compared to past years.

As of Monday, January 6, 2020, 471 drugs have increased by an average of 5%, 466 brand drugs have increased by an average of 5.1%, and 5 generic drugs have increased by an average of 2.3%.

Novartis increased list prices for nearly 30 products, including its treatment for psoriasis, Cosentyx, and its multiple sclerosis product, Gilenya—increases ranged between 5.5% to 7%. According to Reuters, “Novartis said that while it is raising the list prices of about 7% of its US medicines, after discounts and rebates to commercial and government payers it expects a net price decrease of 2.5% in 2020.”

Allegan has raised list prices for about 25 drugs by an average of 5% but the company also announced its intention to provide higher rebates and discounts that will ultimately keep pricing the same.

Merck’s diabetes treatments, Januvia and Janumet, have both been increased by about 5%. Its cancer immunotherapy product, Keytruda, only saw a 1.5% increase. An additional dozen or so products were listed by Merck’s increased product pricing, however, the manufacturer noted that its increases are in line with its previous commitment to not raise prices by a price that outpaces inflation.

Pfizer, on the other hand, has raised pricing for more than 90 drugs. More than 40 of those products saw more than a 9% increase. Pfizer branded heparin products used in hospitals were increased by 15%, though the company noted this was to offset a 50% increase in the raw materials needed to meet demand.

Other companies that have issued increases so far include but are not limited to AbbVie, Biogen, Bristol Myers Squibb, Gilead, Sanofi, Roche’s Genentech, and Teva Pharmaceuticals.

According to data from GoodRx, in 2018, 580 branded drugs increased in price by an average of 8% compared to 2019’s 486 drugs with an average 5.2% increase. The telemedicine platform pointed out a developing trend that shows companies are delaying their increases until later into January. This could be attributed to the growing controversy over drug prices.

—Edan Stanley

 

Reference:

  1. Marsh T. Live Updates: January Drug Price Hikes Are Here. GoodRx. https://www.goodrx.com/blog/january-drug-price-hikes-2020/ Published January 6, 2019.
  2. Advisory Board. One week into 2020, drugmakers have announced nearly 450 price hikes. https://www.advisory.com/daily-briefing/2020/01/06/price-hikes. Published January 6, 2019.
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