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Pharmaceuticals to raise prices of at least 350 drugs in the US in January

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A pharmacist fills a prescription at the Rock Canyon pharmacy in Provo on May 9, 2019. Several drug makers plan to raise US prices on more than 350 unique drugs in early January, according to an analysis. (George Frey, Reuters)

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NEW YORK – Drugmakers including Pfizer, GlaxoSmithKline, Bristol Myers Squibb, AstraZeneca and Sanofi plan to raise U.S. prices on more than 350 unique drugs in early January, according to data analyzed by health research firm 3 Axis Advisors.

The increases are expected to come as the pharmaceutical industry prepares for the Biden administration’s Inflation Reduction Act, which allows the government’s Medicare health program to directly negotiate prices for some drugs starting in 2026. higher.

The increases are in list prices, which do not include pharmacy benefit managers’ rebates and other discounts.

In 2022, drug makers raised prices on more than 1,400 drugs, according to data published by 46brooklyn, a nonprofit drug pricing organization connected to 3 Axis. Those are the biggest increases since 2015.

The average increase in drug prices was 4.9% last year, while the average increase was 6.4%, according to 46brooklyn. Both numbers are lower than inflation rates in the United States.

Pharmaceuticals have kept increases to 10% or less – an industry practice followed by many big pharma since being criticized for many price hikes in the mid-to-last decade.

Antonio Ciaccia, president of 3 Axis, said drugmakers have been focused on pushing their drugs at higher prices because of the attention paid to annual price increases. The IRA should foster that dynamic, he said.

“Drug makers need to look more closely at calibrating these launch prices early on … he said.

More drug prices are likely to be announced throughout January – historically the biggest month for drug makers to raise prices.

Pfizer announced the most increases to date, with price increases on 89 unique drug brands and an additional 10 drug brands increase in its Hospira arm.

This was followed by GSK, with increases planned so far in 26 unique drugs, including an almost 7% increase in its popular herpes vaccine, Shingrix.

GSK was not immediately available for comment.

Customers wait in the pharmacy department of a Target store in Brooklyn, New York, on June 15, 2015. Several drug makers plan to raise US prices for more than 350 unique drugs in early January, according to with an analysis.
Customers wait in the pharmacy department of a Target store in Brooklyn, New York, on June 15, 2015. Several drug makers plan to raise US prices for more than 350 unique drugs in early January, according to with an analysis. (Photo: Brendan McDermid, Reuters)

Expected notable increases include 9% price increases on personalized CAR-T cell therapies from Bristol Myers Squibb, Abecca and Breyanzi, both of which already cost more than $400,000 for blood cancer treatments.

A company spokesperson said there were several factors driving the increase in the list price of the two CAR-T cell therapies, including the rate of inflation, the value of the therapies and the custom nature of the CAR-T manufacturing process.

The increases for Pfizer include a 6% increase in the cost of Xeljanz, a treatment for autoimmune diseases including rheumatoid arthritis and ulcerative colitis, and 7.9% increases in the cancer drugs Ibrance and Xalkori.

A Pfizer spokesperson said in an email that the company’s 2023 average list prices for drugs and vaccines are well below headline inflation by approximately 3.6%, noting that the increases are needed to support investments in the drug discovery.

Pfizer noted that net prices – those the company actually receives for its drugs – have fallen over the past four years because of higher discounts and rebates paid to insurers and pharmaceutical benefit managers.

AstraZeneca is expected to raise prices in the 3% range for the blood cancer treatment Calquence, the non-small cell lung cancer drug Tagrisso and the asthma treatment Fasenra.

“AstraZeneca has always taken a judicious approach to pricing and we continue to do so, considering many factors,” said company spokesman Brendan McEvoy.

In addition to significant investments in R&D, McEvoy said AstraZeneca considers clinical value, patient population size, government/payer coverage requirements, patient affordability, competition and other market conditions.

Sanofi plans to raise prices for 14 of its drugs or vaccines.

A spokesperson for Sanofi said the drugmaker’s pricing actions for 2023 are consistent with its responsible pricing approach, adherence to government policies and the need to respond to evolving trends in the marketplace.

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