facebook Drugmakers start 2021 with price increases. Anybody feel like celebrating?

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Drugmakers start 2021 with price increases. Anybody feel like celebrating?

health care spendingSeveral drugmakers in the U.S. raised prices on more than 300 drugs on January 1, according to drugmakers and data analyzed by health care research firm 3 Axis Advisors and reported by Reuters.

All of the companies kept their increases at 10 percent or below, while the biggest names, Pfizer and Sanofi, kept nearly all their increases to 5 percent or lower.

Like most of us, Big Pharma has also been negatively affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, which has reduced doctor visits and demand for some drugs. Companies are also contending with new drug price cutting rules from the Trump administration, which could reduce the industry’s profitability.

Teva Pharmaceuticals Inc raised prices on 15 of its drugs, including Austedo, which treats rare neurological disorders, and asthma steroid Qvar. Together the two drugs grossed more than $650 million in sales in 2019.

Pfizer alone will raise prices on more than 60 drugs by as much as 5 percent.

“This modest increase is necessary to support investments that allow us to continue to discover new medicines and deliver those breakthroughs to the patients who need them,” Pfizer spokeswoman Amy Rose said in a statement, pointing in particular to the COVID-19 vaccine the company developed with Germany’s BioNTech SE.

A federal judge earlier this month blocked a Trump administration rule aimed at lowering drug prices that was set to be implemented at the beginning of 2021. The rule was challenged by drug industry groups including PhRMA, the nation’s leading pharmaceutical trade group. President-elect Biden has also vowed to reduce drug costs.

Are your prescription medications more expensive today than last year?  Share your voice.