Landmark Negotiations Begin: Medicare and Drug Companies Engage in First-Ever Price Talks

Landmark Negotiations Begin: Medicare and Drug Companies Engage in First-Ever Price Talks
03.01.2024

Drug companies are increasing prices on hundreds of drugs this month, according to data analysis reported last week by Reuters.

Pfizer, Sanofi, Takeda Pharmaceutical and others plan to raise prices on more than 500 drugs – or more than 140 brands excluding different doses and formulations, Reuters reported.

“The expected price hikes come as the pharmaceutical industry gears up for the Biden Administration to publish significantly discounted prices for 10 high-cost drugs in September and continues to contend with higher inflation and manufacturing costs,” Reuters wrote, citing analysis by healthcare research firm 3 Axis Advisors.

Last January, prices went up on 1,425 drugs, a bit fewer than in 2022, when the number was 1,460, Reuters reported, citing 46brooklyn, a drug pricing non-profit related to 3 Axis.

Median price increases have been about 5% since 2019, according to 46brooklyn.

Under the Biden administration’s 2022 Inflation Reduction Act, Medicare can start start negotiating prices directly for some medications for the first time. Several drug companies and national organizations are suing the federal government to have the drug price negotiations declared unconstitutional under the First and Fifth amendments.

Medicare is negotiating prices for the 10 drugs to make them cheaper for older people. “By the fall, the federal government will publish the agreed-upon prices for those medications, which will go into effect in 2026,” according to CNBC.

The drug companies did not respond to Reuters’ requests for comment.

Pfizer has announced the most price increases for this month. Its increases account for more than a quarter of those planned – 124 drugs, and another 22 at its Hospira arm, Reuters reported.

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Sanofi has pledged to cut 2024 prices on insulin products. It will raise prices on vaccines against typhoid fever, rabies, and yellow fever by 9% each in January, Reuters said.

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