US NEWS: Newly launched drugs in the US are headed for record high prices in 2022

Aug 15 – Drugmakers are bringing new drugs to market at record prices this year, a analysis found, underscoring their pricing power even as Congress struggles to reduce the $500 billion annual U.S. prescription dug bill .

At the same time, some pharmaceutical manufacturers are publishing less information about the prices of these treatments, which have come under greater scrutiny in recent years, has found.

“In the U.S., we allow drug manufacturers to freely set the prices of all brand-name drugs,” Dr. Aaron Kesselheim, a professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women’s Hospital, told.

The average annual price of 13 new drugs approved for chronic conditions by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration so far this year is $257,000, found.

They were in good company: seven other newly launched drugs were priced at more than $200,000. Three other drugs launched in 2022 are used only occasionally and were not included in the calculation.

Last year, the median annual price rose to $180,000 for 30 first-market drugs by mid-July 2021, according to a study published recently in JAMA.

While the statistics do not fully replicate the work of this study, they do show that the direction of new drug prices continues to be upward.

The JAMA study also excluded medications that are taken intermittently. It included an adjustment due to higher prices for drugs for very rare diseases, which did not do.

The pharmaceutical industry says the prices of the new drugs, many of which now treat rare diseases for which there are no therapies, reflect their value to patients, including the ability to prevent costly emergency room visits and hospital stays.

Drugmakers also emphasize that they do not determine how much American patients end up paying for the drugs.

“Each person’s (health) insurance company and plan will determine out-of-pocket costs,” Eli Lilly & Co said when asked about the $12,700 annual cost of its new diabetes drug Mounjaro, adding that the company offers savings cards. reduce that cost to just $25 per month.

‘ATTEMPTED TO BREAK’
At the same time, it is becoming increasingly difficult to confirm information about drug prices. Requested price data from all 15 companies that launched new drugs this year.

Six manufacturers either did not respond to a request for pricing details or initially provided only partial information, such as a “per vial” price, rather than an annual cost based on average patient use, as has been the case in the past.

Sanofi ( SASY.PA ) said its new drug Enjaymo, used to treat a rare type of anemia, was priced at $1,800 a bottle. When pressed further, the French healthcare group clarified that the typical annual price is $280,800.

Immunocore ( IMCR.O ) initially disclosed only a “per bottle” price for melanoma drug Kimmtrak, and Dermavant Sciences only listed a “per tube” price for its new psoriasis cream. Bristol Myers Squibb ( BMY.N ​​) reported a “per infusion” price for cancer treatment Opdualag. All three ultimately provided annual awards.

CTI BioPharma ( CTIC.O ) referred to a third-party database but later disclosed the monthly price for its rare anemia treatment Vonjo. Mycovia Pharmaceuticals said that “as a private company” it would not disclose the price of its antifungal Vivjoa.

Dr. Ameet Sarwaptwari, a Harvard University professor who specializes in health law, said such incomplete disclosure could be “an attempt to deflect attention” from high annual costs.

In response, some drugmakers say treatment costs can vary based on a patient’s weight and other factors, complicating pricing for the average patient.

Congress passed a landmark $430 billion inflation-reduction bill last week that includes a cap on annual drug price increases and allows the Medicare health program for seniors to negotiate prices for up to 20 of its top-spending drugs.

But the bill does not limit how much drugmakers can charge for new drugs. Some industry experts say this could make manufacturers even more dependent on higher introductory prices.

“The industry will turn to new drugs to try to use the leverage that remains unchecked,” said Daniel Ollendorf of the Center for Health Value and Risk Assessment at Tufts Medical Center.

A study on drug prices published by JAMA showed that between 2008 and 2021, drug listing prices in the US increased by 20% per year.

On a net basis, which includes volume discounts and other rebates health insurers negotiate with drugmakers, prices for new drugs rose 11% annually, according to a study led by researchers at the Boston Program on Regulation, Therapeutics. and Law and from Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

Did not calculate a comparable increase for 2022 because such discounts are not disclosed.

Discounts and rebates are often requested by payers for new drugs once competing treatments become available. As patents expire, cheaper generics are also dampening prescription drug price inflation, which rose 2.8% in the 12 months through July, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

“The vast majority of drugs that Americans use are generics,” said Rena Conti, an associate professor at Boston University’s business school. Medicines for diseases with few treatment options command the highest prices, she said.

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