2019 is not kicking off to a great start for most Americans. US drug companies kicked off the year implementing price increases on more than 250 prescription drugs—despite pressure from President Trump to not do so.
The US president implemented a new Medicare policy that pushed back at insurance companies. However, it seems the 20+ US drug companies have pushed back in a big way.
US Drug Companies vs. President Trump
In early November, 28 drugmakers filed notifications with California agencies disclosing their plan to raise drug prices. Under California state law, companies are required to notify payers if they intend on raising the list price of any drug by more than 16%.
“Requests and public shaming haven’t worked” to lower drug prices, said Michael Rea, chief executive of RX Savings Solutions, which helps health plans and employers seek lower cost prescription medicines. “We expect the number of 2019 increases to be even greater than in past years.”
Pfizer Inc. (NYSE:PFE) was the only major US drug company to comply with President Trump in 2018, but that has changed dramatically. In July, the President tweeted that the drugmaker should be “ashamed” and that his administration would respond to the hikes. Immediately after the tweet, the pharma company said it would defer hikes in its prices until January 2019.
While the drug company stuck to what it said, it will hike the prices of 41 of its drugs in mid-January. Currently, the US leaves its drug prices to market competition, making it the most lucrative market for manufacturers.
Pharmaceutical drugs in the US are much higher than in other countries, and many Americans opt to buy their drugs in Canada. In other countries, the governments directly or indirectly control the costs of medicine. It remains unknown at this time if the President will try and step in. President Trump currently has his hands full with the government shut down, so I wouldn’t expect him to intervene anytime soon. Sorry, America.
Featured Image: Depositphotos/robert_g