- The Average Annual Price for New U.S. Drugs This Year Is $257,000
- Eight of the 13 drugs launched in 2022 cost more than $200,000 a year
- Some drug manufacturers reveal less information about prices
Aug 15 (Reuters) – Drug makers are launching new drugs at record high prices this year, a Reuters analysis finds, highlighting their pricing power even as Congress passes the annual bill of more than $500 billion for prescription drugs in the United States want to lower.
At the same time, some pharmaceutical manufacturers are revealing less information about the pricing of those treatments, which have come under more scrutiny in recent years, Reuters found.
“In the US, we allow drug manufacturers to freely set prices for all brand-name drugs,” Dr. Aaron Kesselheim, a professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women’s Hospital, told Reuters.
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The average annual price of 13 new drugs approved so far by the US Food and Drug Administration for chronic conditions is $257,000, Reuters found.
They were in good company: seven other newly launched drugs were priced over $200,000. Three other drugs launched in 2022 are only used occasionally and are not included in the calculation.
Last year, the average annual price rose to $180,000 for the 30 drugs first introduced to the market through mid-July 2021, according to a study recently published in JAMA.
While the Reuters count doesn’t fully replicate the work of that study, it shows that the direction of new drug prices continues to rise.
The JAMA study also ruled out drugs that are used intermittently. It included an adjustment for the fact that drugs for very rare diseases have higher prices, which Reuters did not.
The pharmaceutical industry says the prices for new drugs, many of which now treat rare diseases for which no therapies exist, reflect their value to patients, including the ability to avoid expensive emergency room visits and hospital stays.
Drug manufacturers also emphasize that they do not control what American patients end up paying for the drugs.
“Each person’s individual insurer and plan will determine out-of-pocket costs,” Eli Lilly & Co said in response to a question about the $12,700 annual price of its new diabetes drug Mounjaro, adding that the company offers savings cards. to bring that cost down to just $25 a month.
‘ATTEMPT TO DIRECTION’
At the same time, information about the price of medicines is more difficult to confirm. Reuters asked for price data from all 15 companies that launched new drugs this year.
Six of the manufacturers either did not respond to a request for pricing details or initially provided only partial information, such as cost “per vial,” rather than annual costs based on average patient use, as they had done in the past.
Sanofi (SASY.PA) said its new drug Enjaymo, which is used to treat a rare type of anemia, costs $1,800 per vial. When pushed further, the French healthcare group clarified that the typical annual price is $280,800.
Immunocore (IMCR.O) initially only revealed a “per vial” price for melanoma drug Kimtrak, and Dermavant Sciences only gave a “per tube” price for its new psoriasis cream. Bristol Myers Squibb (BMY.N) quoted a price “per infusion” for cancer treatment Opdualag. All three eventually yielded annual prizes.
CTI BioPharma (CTIC.O) referred Reuters to a third-party database, but later gave a monthly price for the rare anemia treatment Vonjo. Mycovia Pharmaceuticals said it would not provide information “as a private company” about the price of its antifungal drug Vivjoa.
dr. Ameet Sarwaptwari, a Harvard University professor who specializes in health law, said such incomplete disclosure “could be an attempt to distract” from the high annual costs.
In response, some drug manufacturers say treatment costs can vary depending on patient weight and other factors, complicating the estimation of prices for an average patient.
Congress last week passed the landmark $430 billion Inflation Reduction Act, which includes a cap on annual drug price increases and allows the Medicare senior health program to negotiate prices for up to 20 of the drugs it is targeting. most is spent.
However, the bill does not limit what drugmakers can charge for new drugs. Some industry experts say this could make manufacturers even more dependent on higher launch prices.
“The industry will turn to new drugs to try and use the lever that goes unchecked,” said Daniel Ollendorf of the Center for the Evaluation of Value and Risk in Health at Tufts Medical Center.
The study on drug prices published by JAMA showed that between 2008 and 2021, drug launch prices in the US increased by 20% annually.
On a net basis, which accounts for volume-based rebates and other rebates that health insurers negotiate with drug manufacturers, prices for new drugs rose 11% per year, according to the study led by researchers at the Boston-based Program on Regulation, Therapeutics. and Law and of Brigham and Women’s Hospital.
Reuters has not calculated a comparable increase for 2022, as such discounts are not made public.
Discounts and discounts are often demanded by payers for new drugs once competing treatments become available. As patents expire, cheaper generics are also reducing prescription drug price inflation, which rose 2.8% in the 12 months through July, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
“The vast majority of drugs Americans use are generics,” said Rena Conti, an associate professor at Boston University’s business school. Drugs for diseases with few treatment options have the highest prices, she said.
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Reporting by Deena Beasley in Los Angeles; Editing by Caroline Humer, Michele Gershberg and Deepa Babington
Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.