Drug prices rose three times faster than inflation in the US

Drug prices have risen three times faster than inflation over the last 10 years in the United States according to a new study published in JAMA. The study focused on prescription drugs.
As Inmaculada Hernandez, the main author of the study, explains, previously other studies had only studied list prices, prices that do not take into account possible discounts from manufacturers. This is the first study, according to Hernandez, which takes these discounts into account and which indicates net price trends.

The study focused on 602 drugs whose prices were calculated from 2007 to 2018. Adjusted for inflation, prices increased by 159%. Thus, taking into account discounts, various coupons and supply, which are very common features of medicines in the United States, prices of medicines increased by 60%, or 3.5 times overall inflation.
It was only around 2015 that net prices began to stabilize, which does not mean an automatic lowering or levelling off of drug costs for people.

“We are seeing a lot of discussion about whether net prices have stabilized in recent years, and this seems to be the case,” said Walid Gellad, senior author of the study and professor of medicine and health policy at the University of Pittsburgh. “But the stabilization of net prices adds to the large increases of the last decade, many times faster than inflation, for products that have not changed during this period. Moreover, this net price is an average, with considerable variability between payers and medicines”.