2019 begins with higher prescription drug prices

Drugmakers typically increase prices on many drugs in their portfolios at the beginning of the year, although a report from Bloomberg noted that some companies may be delaying the announcement of price increases to see what response they may receive from the White House as well as Congress, now that the Democrats are taking control of the House of Representatives.

Novartis spokesman Eric Althoff said the company plans to raise US list prices on 14 percent of the medicines it sells in the country in 2019, for an average increase of 4.7 percent on those drugs.

The hikes will pose a new challenge to President Donald Trump's pledge to lower the costs of prescription medications in the world's most expensive pharmaceutical market. 'We expect the number of 2019 increases to be even greater than in past years'.

American pharmaceutical giant Pfizer will raise the price of more than 40 of its prescription drugs beginning january 15. In July, the company made headlines by announcing that it was pausing its price increases pending new healthcare policies to be set by the Trump administration.

The bill would allow other companies to create cheaper, generic versions of a drug, regardless of patents, if the average drug price is found to be higher than in Canada, the U.K., Germany, France and Japan.

Still, many price increases exceed inflation.

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.

By contrast, the inflation rate in the USA for the 12 months through November is 2.2%.

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Allergan had the most increases on products, of all the companies analyzed by RX Savings Solutions.

Bayer said that the USA wholesale price of its products are not representative of what most consumers pay and that 'list price increases are expected to be offset by higher rebates and discounts paid to insurance companies and pharmacy benefit managers'. AstraZeneca and Biogen declined to comment for this story.

Allergan is reportedly setting the pace with increases of almost 10 percent on more than two dozen products, according to the Wall Street Journal.

List pricing is often much higher than the cost paid by consumers.

Lowering prescription drug prices was a top priority in Republican Trump's 2016 presidential campaign.

RX Savings Solutions CEO Michael Rea believes the continued rise in drug costs is due to the lack of market accountability.

Many companies agreed that price transparency could be beneficial but they also agreed that using a drug's list price could cause more confusion than help for consumers.

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