Big Pharma Raised Prices of Several Prescription Drugs on First Day of 2020

January 2, 2020, 4:31 PM UTC

The turning of the calendar to January 1st marked a new year, a new decade and new price hikes from some of the pharmaceutical industry’s biggest names.

Bristol-Myers Squibb, Gilead Sciences, Biogen and other drugmakers increased list prices on 50 drugs once 2020 began, according to healthcare research firm 3 Axis Advisors.

The price hikes are almost all below 10%, with the median price increase hovering around 5%, though more price increases could come in the following weeks.

That’s lower than the 2019 average price increase, which came in at 6.3%. And it’s within the 10% annual limit many Big Pharma companies have pledged to honor as politicians zero in on drug pricing as a key talking point in the 2020 election.

It is, however, more than twice the annual inflation rate for the United States, which stood at 2.1% for the 12 months ended November 2019

While the increases are not excessive, compared to other pharmacological price jumps in previous years, the drugs affected could still be a point of contention. Bristol-Meyers increased the price of Opdivo and Yervoy, two cancer drugs, as well as Eliquis, a heavily prescribed blood thinner. Gilead will charge more for Biktarvy and Truvada, two HIV treatments.

Drug prices have been a focus in Washington for 18 months, after President Doanld Trump chided drug makers for raising prices “for no reason.”

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