Drug Makers Raise Prices on More Than 30 Products for 2018

Many drugmakers rang in the new year with increases in list prices of dozens of drugs that will take effect in 2018.

Many drugmakers rang in the new year with increases in list prices of dozens of drugs that will take effect in 2018. Early data suggest the increases generally remained within a 10% self-imposed limit that was popularized by Allergan’s chief executive, Brent Saunders, in 2016, when he pledged to keep price rises below the 10% figure as part of what he called the company’s “social contract with patients.”

Saunders’ pricing promise may have become something of a de facto price pledge for many companies, one that was made in response to Mylan’s price hike on Epipen auto-injectors, which set off a public controversy. Pfizer has been a notable exception to the voluntary 10% price cap pledge. In 2017, Pfizer raised US prices on close to 100 of its drugs by an average of 20%.

Amgen raised the price of its reference etanercept (Enbrel), its blockbuster rheumatoid arthritis and psoriasis treatment, by 9.7%, and also raised the price of its pegfilgrastim (Neulasta) by 4.9%. An FDA approved biosimilar etanercept, Erelzi, has not yet launched in the United States.

Specialty pharma companies Allergan, Teva, Collectis, Insys, Synergy, and Supernus all raised prices effective January 1. Allergan raised prices on 18 different medications by 9.5%—just below its self-imposed limit—including its hypertension treatment Bystolic, dry eye treatment Restasis (which was the subject of considerable controversy in 2017), irritable bowel syndrome treatment Linzess, and Alzheimer’s treatment Namenda XR. An Allergan company spokesman said that these increases will be the only ones taken on those brands in 2018, and he noted that discounts to payers should bring actual increases to consumers down to the low single digits—approximately 2% to 3%.

Teva increased prices on 7 of its drugs, focusing on its branded products including Azilect, its Parkinson’s treatment, and the ProAir HFA and ProAir RespiClick asthma inhalers, which went up by 6% and 3%, respectively. Teva’s price increases overall range from 2.3% to 9.4%. The price hikes come as Teva has publicized plans to lay off 14,000 of its employees, setting off social unrest in Israel, where the layoffs will hit particularly hard.

The biopharmaceutical company Horizon Pharma kept price hikes on 4 of its drugs at 9.9%.