Big Pharma Plans Big January Price Hikes

Major drugmakers intend to raise prices for U.S. consumers in early January on over 500 medications. Reuters reported the data on these planned increases was analyzed by healthcare research firm 3 Axis Advisors.

This despite the Biden administration touting its efforts, particularly through the so-called Inflation Reduction Act, to rein in prescription costs.

Among the manufacturers set to increase prices are Pfizer, Sanofi and Takeda Pharmaceutical. The companies and others in the industry are prepping for the White House plan to establish discounted drug prices in September for 10 normally expensive medications.

Also looming for the industry is the Biden plan for Medicare to begin negotiating drug prices starting in 2026. These changes come as supply chains are once again disrupted, this time by violence in the Middle East interfering with shipping through the Red Sea.

The data also showed that a trio of drug suppliers, including GlaxoSmithKline, plan to cut prices on some products in 2024.

Lower prices are planned for treatments for asthma, herpes and anti-epileptic medications. And several companies already announced discounts for commonly used insulins to avoid federal penalties.

Several pharmaceutical companies that hiked the prices of 48 medications in use by over 750,000 senior citizens face paying rebates to Medicare. These payments come due in the first quarter of 2024.

They are now mandatory when “Part B” drug costs increase faster than inflation.

The companies as a matter of practice generally keep price hikes below 10%. This resulted from intense criticism in the middle of the last decade that prescription costs were increasing far faster than the rate of inflation.

Interestingly, the skyrocketing prices seen under the Biden administration have not translated into similar increased costs for medical consumers. According to 46brooklyn, a drug pricing non-profit, median price increases remained around 5%.

But that is subject to change in January, and for the second straight year Pfizer leads the way with the most hikes planned. The Big Pharma giant boasts over 25% of the drugs expected to go up in price following the new year.

Fully 124 unique drug brands will increase in cost, and another 22 brands under its Hospira division will also rise.