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BIG PHARMA POLITICS: Consumers pressure politicians to do something about rising drug prices. Read More

Politicians are talking about reining in prescription prices, but Big Pharma has other ideas

Big Pharma profitPresident Trump and Democratic members of Congress have frequently called upon the pharmaceutical industry to lower prices (or, at least, keep increases in check). But Big Pharma has other ideas.

Politico reports Bayer raised the price of two cancer drugs by hundreds of dollars in May, and Novartis boosted prices on four already-expensive treatments in June.

According to the article, a Wells Fargo report identified 104 price increases in June and the first two weeks of July. The average price jump was 31.5 percent. Keep in mind, those price hikes do not account for the discounts companies may provide to some insurance companies or patients. At the same time, it’s worth noting that the Big Pharma price increases are well (and that’s a kind word) above the current U.S. inflation rate, which is under 3 percent.

Politico notes that this wasn’t the first price increases from Big Pharma in 2018. Pfizer raised the cost of Viagra 9.44 percent in January and another 9.44 percent on July 1. That takes the price of a 30-pill bottle of Viagra to more than $2,200.

OK, maybe Viagra isn’t a life-saving drug. But Gilead Sciences makes one that is. Truvada, a pill that is thought to be 90 percent effective in reducing the risk of contracting HIV from sex, also now costs close to $2,000 for a 30-day supply. NPR and Kaiser Health News reports the drug’s price has jumped about 45 percent since first approved six years ago.

What about you? What trends are you seeing in your own or your family’s prescription medications? Share your story with Voices for Affordable Health.