Considerable Increase Seen in List, Net Prices of Branded Drugs

From 2007 to 2018, list prices increased 159 percent, while net prices increased by 60 percent

WEDNESDAY, March 4, 2020 (HealthDay News) -- From 2007 to 2018, there were substantial increases in list and net prices of branded drugs in the United States, according to a study published in the March 3 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Inmaculada Hernandez, Pharm.D., Ph.D., from the University of Pittsburgh School of Pharmacy, and colleagues conducted a retrospective descriptive study using pricing data from 2007 to 2018 for 602 drugs. Changes in list prices, net prices, and discounts were identified for branded pharmaceutical products.

The researchers found that list prices increased 159 percent from 2007 to 2018 (9.1 percent per year), while net prices increased by 60 percent (4.5 percent per year); net prices were stable from 2015 to 2018. There was an increase in discounts seen from 40 to 76 percent in Medicaid and from 23 to 51 percent for other payers. Overall, 62 percent of list-price increases were offset by increases in discounts. Across classes, there was large variability. The largest increases in list and net prices were seen for multiple sclerosis treatments (439 and 157 percent, respectively). The lowest list-price increases were seen for antineoplastic agents (59 percent); discounts offset 41 percent of list-price increases, leading to a net-price increase of 35 percent.

"Understanding changes in both list and net prices is important for making informed decisions about policies addressing prescription prices and answering policy-relevant research questions," the authors write.

One author disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry; a second author disclosed ties to the health insurance industry.

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