Brand-name drug prices rising at slower pace, lower amounts

Drug companies are still raising prices for brand-name prescription medicines, just not as often or by as much as they used to, according to an Associated Press (AP) analysis. After years of frequent list price increases, many drugmakers are showing some restraint, according to the analysis of drug prices provided by Elsevier.

Drug companies are still raising prices for brand-name prescription medicines, just not as often or by as much as they used to, according to an Associated Press (AP) analysis. After years of frequent list price increases, many drugmakers are showing some restraint, according to the analysis of drug prices provided by Elsevier. In the first 7 months of 2019, drugmakers raised list prices for brand-name prescription medicines by a median of 5%. That's down from about 9% or 10% over those months the prior 4 years, the AP found. From January through July this year, there were 4,483 price hikes, down 36% from that stretch in 2015. Several large manufacturers skipped their usual mid-year increases, noted Elsevier drug pricing expert Kay Morgan. For years, they and many other drugmakers raised list prices on brand-name medicines up to three times annually, sometimes 10% or more each time. Now, companies are taking more of their increases in January, reaping the extra revenue all year and forgoing early summer hikes. Still, there were 37 price increases for every decrease in the first 7 months of 2019. The latest monthly Consumer Price Index shows that average drug prices people pay declined 2% from June 2018 to June 2019. But that is because 90% of prescriptions filled in the United States are for generics, whose prices have been declining amid pressure from big drug distributors.