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RX Prices On the Rise!

Despite continuous push

back from Congress, our current administration, and the public, drug list prices rose again this January. In total, over 100 manufacturers raised the price for 619 brand drugs by an average of 5.2%. These yearly January price hikes are not new. Since 2014, we have been seeing a jump in the price index at the beginning of every year, signaling pharma’s yearly price increases. In January 2018, we saw the biggest bout of increases, with 729 brand drugs increasing by an average of 7.7%. In 2019, 601 brand drugs increased by an average of 5.8%. While it doesn’t seem like January price hikes are going away anytime soon, the timing of these price hikes has seen some changes over the years. In 2018, almost 90% of all price increases happened during the first week of January. In 2019 and 2020, on the other hand, prices steadily increased over the entire month.

Why is this happening? Media, the government, and the public are well aware of January hikes, and the New Year is typically shrouded with coverage calling manufactures out on their pricing tactics. However, as January passes, the coverage dies down, and manufacturers are able to increase prices relatively under the radar. This historic and predictable increase is the reason why Medicare Part D coverage increases starting October each year to cover these increase for the following year. Many Medicare recipients saw as much as a 110% increase in their monthly Part D premiums.

With so many new drugs on the market with no future possibility of becoming a generic brand, the pharmaceutical industry prices will continue to rise. Their commitment to Congress to keep increases under 10% increase is being kept, yet how many of us can afford to purchase? Keep tuned for further updates on this medical/economic dilemma.

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MJ Johnson - Healthcare Solutions Team 2020.

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