While a number of big pharmaceutical companies refrained from raising drug prices last year – amid strong pressure from President Trump – 2019 is set to bring a number of price increases for consumers.
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The average drugmaker will raise prices by about 6.3 percent this year, according to The Wall Street Journal, while hundreds of medicines became more expensive on Tuesday.
Total prescription drug spending has risen 10 percent each year since 2010, as consumers and companies continue to spend big bucks for medications.
And even though generics are becoming more widely available, branded drugs are still responsible for driving consumer costs higher. Only 18 percent of prescriptions filled last year were branded drugs, but these medications accounted for 78 percent of total spending, according to Blue Cross Blue Shield.
Here’s a look at some of the big drugmakers raising prices this year:
Allergan raised prices on 51 products, more than half of its drug portfolio. Twenty-seven drugs will increase in cost by nearly 10 percent, while another 24 will rise by nearly 5 percent.
Some of Allergan’s popular drugs include dry-eye treatment Restasis and Alzheimer’s medication Namenda.
GlaxoSmithKline raised the prices on 36 drugs, though by a small amount. The increases on these products will not exceed 3 percent.
American pharmaceutical giant Pfizer will raise the price of more than 40 of its prescription drugs beginning Jan. 15.
Forty-one medicines – or 10 percent of Pfizer’s drug portfolio—will be affected. The increases will mostly be around 5 percent, though three drugs will see a 3 percent rise in cost and one will cost 9 percent more.
Merck raised its prices on five drugs starting in November, including top-selling cancer treatment Keytruda and HPV vaccine Gardasil.
The price of Keytruda rose by about 1.5 percent, according to Reuters, which is expected to generate about $7 billion in sales for the company this year.
The cost of Gardasil increased by about 6 percent.
Drugmaker Novartis will raise prices on more than 30 different products, according to Reuters. The increases range from 4.5 percent to 9.9 percent and include leukemia treatment Tasigna and Gilenya – which is used to treat multiple sclerosis.