Perspective

Prescription drug prices rose nearly 10% in 2016

The cost of prescription drugs increased by 8.77% last year, the fourth consecutive year drug prices have gone up, according to data from the Truveris National Drug Index. The company further stated the 2016 increase represents an average annual price increase of 9.98% over the last year 3 years.

This report underscores several highly publicized efforts to address drug costs. In March, President Donald J. Trump said one of his principles in replacing the Affordable Care Act was to limit unnecessary procedures that cause health insurance and prescription drug costs to rise.

Last month, AAFP teamed up with the Campaign for Sustainable Rx Pricing, in an attempt to “strike a balance between innovation and affordability in the pharmaceutical industry,” the AAFP stated.

According to Truveris, the National Drug Index is a weighted price index that measures the average price of prescription drugs in the United States, and is driven by the most commonly prescribed medications.

Other data compiled by the company show from January to December 2016:

•price of branded drugs increased by 45.48 points or 12.92%;

•price of specialty drugs increased 12.03 points or 7.93%; and

•price of generic drugs increased 0.5 points or 0.32%.

In comparison, Truveris indicated that the Consumer Price Index, which measures the average change in prices of purchased goods by households, reported a 2.1% increase for 2016. According to the company, this means drug prices inflated 318% more than the price of all other goods in the United States.

“This continued trend reflects a growing concern about the affordability of prescriptions,” AJ Loiacono, co-founder and chief innovation officer, Truveris, said in a press release. “The actual inflation of drug prices is softened by insurance carriers and benefit managers who report overall trends. The underlying price inflation is masked by rebates, reduced compound dispensing, and lower utilization of hepatitis C drugs.”

According to the release, the new year has not resulted in lower drug prices: for the first quarter of 2017, drug prices continued to outpace general inflation, increasing 2.33%.

Truveris’ concerns are not the first over rising drug prices.

Last year, Mylan’s CEO testified before the U.S. House of Representatives’ Committee on Oversight and Government Reform regarding the 500% price increase for EpiPen Auto-Injector devices since 2007.

In addition, a report in JAMA Dermatology suggested prescription dermatologic drug prices rose dramatically between 2009 and 2015, with antineoplastic drugs having the greatest increase.

An investigation that appeared in the Journal of Internal Medicine last year indicated that the high cost of prescription drugs in the United States is the result of drug manufacturers being granted government-protected monopolies. - by Janel Miller

Disclosure: Loiacano is co-founder and chief innovation officer for Truveris.

The cost of prescription drugs increased by 8.77% last year, the fourth consecutive year drug prices have gone up, according to data from the Truveris National Drug Index. The company further stated the 2016 increase represents an average annual price increase of 9.98% over the last year 3 years.

This report underscores several highly publicized efforts to address drug costs. In March, President Donald J. Trump said one of his principles in replacing the Affordable Care Act was to limit unnecessary procedures that cause health insurance and prescription drug costs to rise.

Last month, AAFP teamed up with the Campaign for Sustainable Rx Pricing, in an attempt to “strike a balance between innovation and affordability in the pharmaceutical industry,” the AAFP stated.

According to Truveris, the National Drug Index is a weighted price index that measures the average price of prescription drugs in the United States, and is driven by the most commonly prescribed medications.

Other data compiled by the company show from January to December 2016:

•price of branded drugs increased by 45.48 points or 12.92%;

•price of specialty drugs increased 12.03 points or 7.93%; and

•price of generic drugs increased 0.5 points or 0.32%.

In comparison, Truveris indicated that the Consumer Price Index, which measures the average change in prices of purchased goods by households, reported a 2.1% increase for 2016. According to the company, this means drug prices inflated 318% more than the price of all other goods in the United States.

“This continued trend reflects a growing concern about the affordability of prescriptions,” AJ Loiacono, co-founder and chief innovation officer, Truveris, said in a press release. “The actual inflation of drug prices is softened by insurance carriers and benefit managers who report overall trends. The underlying price inflation is masked by rebates, reduced compound dispensing, and lower utilization of hepatitis C drugs.”

According to the release, the new year has not resulted in lower drug prices: for the first quarter of 2017, drug prices continued to outpace general inflation, increasing 2.33%.

Truveris’ concerns are not the first over rising drug prices.

Last year, Mylan’s CEO testified before the U.S. House of Representatives’ Committee on Oversight and Government Reform regarding the 500% price increase for EpiPen Auto-Injector devices since 2007.

In addition, a report in JAMA Dermatology suggested prescription dermatologic drug prices rose dramatically between 2009 and 2015, with antineoplastic drugs having the greatest increase.

An investigation that appeared in the Journal of Internal Medicine last year indicated that the high cost of prescription drugs in the United States is the result of drug manufacturers being granted government-protected monopolies. - by Janel Miller

Disclosure: Loiacano is co-founder and chief innovation officer for Truveris.

    Perspective
    Abimbola Farinde

    Abimbola Farinde

    The issue of rising drug prices in America has been a cause for concern for consumers, payers, and health care institutions for some time. The ability to have access to affordable medications or drug options has been a growing burden for many Americans as well as clinicians who view this as a significant barrier to effectively treating their patients. Clinicians can face limitations when it comes to what can be prescribed to their patient if patients are ultimately unable to afford the recommended therapeutic interventions. The goal with any therapeutic intervention is to achieve optimal outcomes for any patient and allow patients to be able to use any available options but this is not always the case. There have been outcries from many sides regarding the current state of health care, particularly as it relates to escalating drug pricing, and the goal of making pharmaceutical industries both aware and accountable for these notable increases.

    For clinicians, it may prove to be an additional challenge to find an intervention that is best suited for a patient and then come to the realization that it cannot be applied to a patient due largely to the price of the drug. This can place a significant restriction on what clinicians can use when treating their patients and may potentially contribute to poor patient outcomes. The adoption and passage of the American Health Care Act of 2017 was designed to repeal most of the Affordable Care Act. With the legislation still in the Senate, it is currently unknown how this will impact the current drug pricing issue in America. Depending on the outcome of the American Health Care Act, the desired goal for all consumers and clinicians is the ability to afford many of their life sustaining or maintenance medications to those who are in need.

    • Abimbola Farinde, PhD
    • Professor at Columbia Southern University, Orange Beach, Ala.

    Disclosures: Farinde reports no relevant financial disclosures.