Health Policy & Advocacy
Resources
Basic InformationMore InformationLatest News
Red Cross Needs Type O Blood to Ease ShortageLess Pain, More Car Crashes: Legalized Marijuana a Mixed BagPolitical Controversies Could Fuel Bullying of LGBT Youth: StudyCBD -- It's Everywhere, But Does It Work?Brief EMS Training Saves Lives After Brain InjuryU.S. Improves Emergency Readiness, but Gaps PersistSlowing Climate Change Could Cut Health Costs, Save MoneyDispensing Opioid Antidote Without a Prescription Might Save LivesNot Just Opioids: Deaths Tied to Cocaine, Meth Are Soaring, TooMost Americans Hit Hard by Medical BillsYour Virtual Doctor Will 'See' You NowHigh Measles Rates Mean Kids, Adults Need Proper Vaccination: CDCMany Drivers Testing Positive for Marijuana, Even With Kids in CarMedicaid Could Save $2.6 Billion a Year With Dip in SmokingFDA Halts All Sales of Pelvic Mesh Products Tied to Injuries in WomenAnother Cost of the Opioid Epidemic: Billions of Dollars in Lost TaxesHealth Tip: Using an AEDNurse Practitioners Often Restricted From Prescribing Opioid TreatmentsForested Counties Have Lower Medicare Costs, Study FindsSimple CPR Doubles Survival OddsUninsured Get Short Shrift on Hospital StaysSpecial Bag Helps Patients Get Rid of Unused OpioidsHealth Tip: Responsibilities of Non-VaccinationDo Doctors Hounded by Malpractice Claims Just Shift Their Practice Elsewhere?Bans on Texting While Behind the Wheel Making Roads SaferColorado Sees Spike in ER Visits After Pot Made LegalMajor Medical Groups Call for Soda TaxesCould the U.S. Mail Deliver Better Colon Cancer Screening Rates?Opioid Rxs Decreasing, But Not for All DoctorsAfter Chinese Infant Gene-Editing Scandal, U.S. Health Officials Join Call for a BanAre 'Inactive' Ingredients in Your Drugs Really So Harmless?Need to Be Vaccinated? Try Your Local PharmacyBystanders Key to Cutting Cardiac Arrest DeathsMany Black Americans Live in Trauma Care 'Deserts'FDA Issues Asbestos Warning About Some Claire's Cosmetic ProductsFDA to Crack Down on Retailers That Keep Selling Tobacco to KidsBlood Donation by Teen Girls May Raise Anemia RiskNurses' Long Hours, Moonlighting Could Pose Patient Safety RiskBerkeley's Efforts Suggest Soda Taxes Do Cut Soda SalesOpioid Overdose Deaths Quadruple, Centered in 8 StatesPayments for Research Can Lead to Lies: StudyFDA Aims to Strengthen Sunscreen RulesAre Primary Care Doctors Prepared to Discuss Cancer Treatment?FDA Fell Short in Preventing Fentanyl Abuse Crisis, Report ClaimsPrimary Care Doctors Help Boost Life Spans, But More Are NeededMore Car Crashes Tied to Drivers High on OpioidsPoor Whites Bear the Brunt of U.S. Opioid Crisis, Studies FindFDA to Tighten Oversight of SupplementsAs U.S. Measles Outbreaks Spread, Why Does 'Anti-Vax' Movement Persist?Even Brief EMS Delay Can Cost Lives After Car Crash
Questions and AnswersVideosLinksBook Reviews
Related Topics

Health Insurance
Healthcare

Does Big Pharma Hike Prices When Meds Are in Short Supply?

HealthDay News
by By Dennis ThompsonHealthDay Reporter
Updated: Sep 18th 2018

new article illustration

TUESDAY, Sept. 18, 2018 (HealthDay News) -- Pharmaceutical companies appear to be engaging in price gouging during drug shortages, with costs rising at double the normal rate when medications are in limited supply, a new study claims.

Prices can be expected to rise about 20 percent for drugs facing a shortage, but only about 9 percent for medicines in good supply, researchers report.

"It's clear the manufacturers are opportunistically pricing in a setting where they see a supply-and-demand mismatch," said senior researcher Dr. William Shrank. He is chief medical officer for the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center insurance services division.

The presence of competition tends to hold down price increases that occur during a shortage, the researchers also found.

Drugs made by three or fewer manufacturers can be expected to increase about 13 percent in price during a shortage, compared with just 8 percent price hikes during shortages affecting medicines supplied by more than three manufacturers, the study found.

"This effect was stronger in drugs that were supplied by three or less manufacturers," said lead researcher Inmaculada Hernandez, an assistant professor of pharmacy and therapeutics at the University of Pittsburgh School of Pharmacy.

For their study, the researchers drew data from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's database on drug shortages.

The investigators identified 90 drugs that underwent an active shortage in 2016, and tracked pricing data for 11 months prior to and following each shortage, to see how prices were affected.

Prices of drugs increased by about 7 percent in the 11 months prior to a shortage, but about 16 percent in the 11 months after a shortage began, the findings showed.

Prices of drugs supplied by three or fewer manufacturers increased by 12 percent before and 27 percent following a shortage. For drugs supplied by more than three manufacturers, prices increased by 2.5 percent and 4.8 percent in the 11 months before and after the shortage began, respectively.

The findings were published online Sept. 17 in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) referred requests for comment to the Association for Accessible Medicines (AAM), a trade group for generic drug manufacturers.

The AAM said more recent events have overtaken this study, rendering its conclusions outdated.

"For the past two years since this study's short and dated snapshot in time, the generic industry has averaged 7 percent deflation of its prices," said Allen Goldberg, the AAM's vice president of communications. "We are working with government and industry to address the low reimbursement for generic drugs, which is the root cause of many shortages."

But the findings were "not surprising" to Claire McAndrew, director of campaigns and partnerships for Families USA, a health care consumer advocacy group.

"The results of this study are quantifying drug company behaviors we have witnessed during public health crises and drug shortages before," McAndrew said. "I think it's quite common that we see drug companies leveraging public health crises or drug shortages for huge profits."

As an example, McAndrew pointed to skyrocketing prices during the opioid epidemic for naloxone (Narcan), the lifesaving medicine that can reverse an opioid overdose.

"The entire drug pricing system right now is set up to allow profiting off of health crises, but there are steps policymakers can take related to the pricing system and the patent system to improve the way the system works for health care consumers," McAndrew explained.

Lawmakers could make it easier for generic versions of drugs to hit the market, improving price competition, McAndrew said. They also could craft other policies that discourage price gouging during shortages.

Shrank suggested that one tactic might be to cap the amount of price increase that can occur in the setting of a shortage.

"We could easily make an exception if there was some extenuating circumstance like a natural disaster," Shrank said. "In the absence of that, it seems reasonable to create a cap on drug prices during a shortage."

More information

The American Hospital Association has more about rising drug prices.




Facebook

Amazon Smile

To quit smoking, call Connecticut QuitLine at 1-800-QUIT-NOW.

Children and Adult services are available now with no wait time.  Please contact HBH Intake Department at 860-548-0101, option 2.

 


powered by centersite dot net