The tension between payers and pharmaceutical companies over drug pricing has carried into 2021, as evidenced by a press release from America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP) criticizing pharmaceutical companies for January 2021 drug pricing increases. The payer organization pointed to a recent GoodRx report as proof that pharmaceutical companies are not backing down their drug prices even as the pandemic continues.
- The payer organization pointed to a recent GoodRx report as proof that pharmaceutical companies are not backing down their drug prices even as the pandemic continues. The report tracked 4,594 drugs on a daily basis. The sample was a mix of brand and generic drugs with more brand drugs represented than generics.
- A little more than 15 percent of all of the drugs studied (722 drugs) would be increasing in prices at the beginning of 2021. Prices would rise approximately 4.5 percent on average. Pharmaceutical companies raised prices on drugs for rheumatoid arthritis, cancer, and other conditions. Pfizer, alone, raised prices on over 130 drugs.
- AHIP added that 65 drugs increased in price during the summer of 2020 when the pandemic was still gaining strength. The payer organization acknowledged payers’ role in negotiating lower prices for their consumers.
- The incoming Biden administration has hinted that its own prescription drug price policy would involve developing a panel to review high-cost drugs that see little or no competition. It may also favour strategies in the House of Representative’s bill, “Lower Drug Costs Now Act of 2019”, which would tie drug prices to other countries.
- Additionally, the new administration may implement rebates on any manufacturer whose price growth exceeds inflation. Under Biden, Americans might be able to purchase other countries’ drugs with HHS approval. The administration is unlikely to support the Trump administration’s policy that rebates pass pharmacy benefits managers and apply to the consumer’s costs.