The ever increasing public outcry over the high price of medicines did little to stop drugmakers from raising prices again for 2020.
Drugmakers including Bristol-Myers Squibb, Gilead Sciences, and Biogen hiked U.S. list prices on more than 50 drugs on Wednesday, bringing total New Year’s Day drug price increases to more than 330 drugs, according to data analyzed by healthcare research firm 3 Axis Advisors.
Companies may be delaying some of those increases to later this month to escape early January scrutiny.
The drug price increases include some blockbuster drugs: the price of Humira, which treats arthritis and other conditions, rose 7.4 percent, and the price of Revlimid, which treats multiple myeloma, rose 6 percent, according to the data.
Drugmakers have traditionally raised prices at the start of a new year, and the data shows that the price increases are continuing, even as outcry over high drug prices rises in Washington. Nearly all of the price increases are below 10%, with the median price increase around 5%, according to 3 Axis.
Under pressure from politicians and patients, many makers of branded drugs have pledged to keep their U.S. list price increases below 10% a year.
“Double-digit increases largely appear to be a thing of the past,” Bloomberg Intelligence analyst Brian Rye said. Many drugmakers have vowed not to increase drug prices by more than 10%. People with insurance generally pay much less than the list price of a drug.
Soaring healthcare costs for U.S. consumers, and prescription drug prices in particular, are expected to again be a central issue in the 2020 presidential campaign for both parties.
The United States, which leaves drug pricing to market competition, has higher prices than in other developed countries where governments directly or indirectly control the costs, making it the world’s most lucrative market for manufacturers.