Drug Companies Raise Prices on More Than 1,000 Medicines

A new analysis finds that major pharmaceutical companies are greeting the new year by hiking the prices on more than a thousand medications.

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The average price jump is about 6 percent — that’s three times higher than the U.S. annual inflation rate of 2 percent, noted MIchael Rea, CEO of RX Savings Solution, which conducted the analysis. The company sells software that helps businesses analyze drug costs.

Among the drugs getting costlier in 2019: the opioid Oxycontin, with a 9.5 percent price hike; blood thinner Pradaxa, at 8 percent; and psoriasis medicine Tecfidera, up 6 percent; CBS News reported.

“A 9 percent increase isn’t just over inflation — it’s four times inflation,” Rea said. “No matter what, that effect is felt by consumers, by payers and the solvency of public and private health plans.”

Phrma, the drug industry trade group, called the analysis “flawed and inaccurate,” saying it didn’t factor in the rebates and other discounts companies offer to make medicines more affordable to patients.

The new report comes after announcements from the Trump Administration that bringing high drug prices down would be one of its priorities. But Rea believes that’s no easy task.

“I think the ideas are great, and I commend anybody who is fighting the fight with this,” Rea said. “It’s like you have the Hoover Dam and it has 50 holes in it, and you take a stick of bubble gum and put it in one hole. If you’re effective, the water will still rush out of the other 49 holes.”

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