Updated: Jan 26
Over 450 U.S. drug prices increased at the start of 2023. Millions of Americans struggle to afford prescription medication costs; and while the recently passed Inflation Reduction Act appears limited in its ability to deliver affordable prices, personal prescription importation remains a lifeline for patients to access critical daily medications at prices 50-90% lower than in the U.S.
There has been a 5% median increase in the wholesale acquisition cost (WAC) of brand name drugs so far in 2023, according to data and analysis from non-profit 46brooklyn.
Over 1,800 drugs saw increases to their list price, or wholesale acquisition cost, since Dec. 1, 2022, about the same number that did during the same period in 2021.
Pfizer alone raised list prices on more than 90 of its drugs, including 8% increases for cancer treatments Ibrance and Xalkori.
Among other notable drugs with large list price increases were the CAR-T cancer treatments Abecma and Breyanzi, the prices of which Bristol Myers raised by 9%, and COVID-19 antiviral Veklury, which Gilead hiked the price of by 10%.
Over just the last year, prescription drug prices rose at an average rate of 31.6%, with some increasing up to 500%, according to a recent Department of Health and Human Services government report.
Checkout wholesale acquisition cost increases for brand drugs through the interactive tool at Brooklyn46:
Yes, There is a Way to Afford Medications
Personal importation of lower-priced prescription drugs from other countries is the solution for as many as 8% of American households. Americans who are sick and tired of paying the highest prices in the world for prescription drugs can find prices two to three times less (50-90% cheaper) in other countries. Learn more at personalimportation.org.
How Bad Is It?
Americans' access to critical medications has been recklessly stripped away for more than two decades as U.S. drug price increases outpaced inflation and price increases in every other consumer product industry. The consequences for many are dire -- nearly three in 10 adults end up skipping doses, cutting pills in half, or not filling their prescription, resulting in long-term health complications. Almost a third of the US adult population, including those with insurance, can't take their prescriptions because they can't afford them.
Will the Inflation Reduction Act Help?
Unfortunately, big pharmaceutical companies appear prepared to skirt the cost-saving measures of the Inflation Reduction Act by simply introducing new drugs at outrageously high prices rather than depending on annual price hikes, as is playing out in the cases of $3.5 million for CSL Ltd.’s Hemgenix, a treatment for the blood disorder hemophilia B and Biogen's newly approved Alzeheimer medicine Aduhelm at $56,000 per year. The median annual price of 13 novel drugs approved for chronic conditions by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 2022 was $257,000, Reuters found.