Twenty drug companies have announced price hikes for 40 medications, with the average price increase being 13.1%. Many of these drugs are in high demand from hospitals, which have been dealing with drug shortages.
After public and political backlash against major drug price increases, some pharmaceutical companies pledged to increase prices gradually – at no more than 10% per year. However, a 10% increase per year outpaces inflation or wage growth.
Drug prices in the U.S. have increased 3.3% in the first quarter of the year, which puts the market on pace to increase prices by more than 10% for the entire year.
The cost of Zejula, an ovarian cancer drug from GlaxoSmithKline, increased by 5% to $6,913 for a 30-day supply. Amneal increased the price of Unithroid, a drug for thyroid conditions, by about 10%.
The largest price hike came from B. Braun Medical Inc., which more than doubled the cost of its saline solution to about $6 per package.
News of the price hikes come as drug prices are in the spotlight.
A report from RT highlights the high costs of drugs, including insulin which is forcing some Americans to cross the border into Canada to get this life-saving drug.
The cost of insulin in the U.S. has nearly tripled between 2002 and 2013, and has grown by another 64% since then.
According to RT’s report, the retail cost of a vial of insulin in Minneapolis, Minnesota costs $340. In London, Ontario, however, the same vial costs $26 at a Walmart pharmacy.
Several institutional and economic factors have contributed to the rising prices of insulin in the U.S. over the years. However, many argue that a lack of competition in the market is to blame. FDA regulations can keep out smaller companies that may have otherwise provided cheaper alternatives.
Approximately 30 million Americans now suffer from diabetes, and more than 7 million rely on insulin.