Big Pharma celebrates the new year by raising prices on at least 350 drugs

January 13, 2023

Get ready – January brings rain and/or snow for most Americans and it also brings higher prices on prescription drugs.

An exclusive Reuters report reveals U.S. drugmakers are preparing to raise prices on at least 350 medications. At the time the story was published, Pfizer had increased prices on 89 unique drugs. They included a 6% price hike for Xerljanz, used to treat autoimmune diseases, and 7.9% increases for cancer drugs Ibrance and Xalkori.

Other big-name companies – including GlaxoSmithKline, Bristol Meyers Squibb and AstraZeneca – are expected to also announce price increases on a variety of prescription products.

Drugmakers say inflation and supply chain constraints have made manufacturing more expensive. Reuters reporters also note that Big Pharma is trying to get ahead of the Biden Administration’s Inflation Reduction Act, which allows Medicare to negotiate prices directly with drugmakers beginning in 2026.

In 2022, drugmakers raised prices on more than 1,400 drugs according to data published by 46brooklyn, a drug pricing non-profit. That marked the most price increases since 2015.

In recent years, Big Pharma has been under pressure from state and federal lawmakers to keep annual price increases below 10%. And, for the most part, they have. The average drug price increase last year was 6.4%, which was lower than overall inflation.

Why doesn’t that make us feel any better? For one thing, Reuters notes that drugmakers are bringing new products to market at higher prices than ever.

Voices for Affordable Health often hears from consumers who are unable to afford rising Rx prices. Have you or someone you loved stopped taking a medication because of cost concerns? Share your story (and selfie!) with us.