Pharma firms hike prices on 500 drugs at start of 2021


Nothing says “happy new year” like pricier prescriptions.

Drugmakers have already raised list prices on more than 500 drugs in the US in the first days of 2021, researchers say.

Dozens of pharmaceutical firms including Pfizer, Abbvie, AstraZeneca and Bristol Myers Squibb started imposing the hikes on Jan. 1, according to data compiled by health-care research firm 46brooklyn.

The median increase was 4.8 percent, slightly lower than last year, and almost all of the bumps were smaller than 10 percent, said the firm, which based its analysis on data from Elsevier’s Gold Standard Drug Database.

Among the increases was a 7.4 percent jump for Humira, Abbvie’s rheumatoid arthritis treatment that holds the title of the world’s best-selling drug. It’s expected to generate more than $20 billion in revenue next year.

Other prominent drugs that got more expensive include the opioid painkiller Percocet, which producer Endo Pharmaceuticals hiked by 9.9 percent; and Biktarvy, an HIV-1 treatment from Gilead Sciences whose price got a 4.8 percent increase, 46brooklyn’s data show.

The increases come at a time when drugmakers are grappling with reduced demand for some drugs as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, which has led to a drop in doctor visits.

The 46brooklyn dataset only reflects changes in the list prices of drugs and doesn’t “capture the variable, completely hidden, and ever-growing rebates shuffling around in the dark,” the firm said on its website.

With Post wires

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