Drug Prices Rise by 5.2%

January 10, 2020

Prices for hundreds of drugs from over 60 drug makers have risen by an average of 5.2% in January, according to a new analysis by GoodRx.

While on pace with the 5.2% increase average in 2019 and below the 8% average seen in 2018, this will only continue to draw the ire of patients, employers, health plans, and lawmakers.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) have separately pointed to these increases to call for action on drug pricing, an issue that had bipartisan support but no consensus on a particular piece of legislation in 2019.

These increases are on the drugs' list prices, which more directly affect insurance companies than patients.  However, patients are eventually impacted by these price increases as an insurance company may choose to cover fewer drugs, require prior authorization before covering a specific drug, or increase coinsurance as a result.

Drug prices typically are raised in the beginning of the year and again in the middle of each year.  It is too early to determine whether the current trend will continue at that time.  

Outlook:  We will certainly see increased focus on drug pricing legislation, along with a number of other health care issues.  However, we will have to wait to see if the policy disagreements can be overcome before such legislation can make it into the May 22 funding package.