Amid new efforts from the White House to rein in skyrocketing drug prices, like calling for greater price transparency and pressuring manufacturers to limit price hikes, four drugs saw price increases of more than 9% this August.
The GoodRx Index also showed the following trends in the month of August:
- Given an unusually tough fire season, prescription fills for inhalers are on the rise, by as much as 15% since July in some cases.
- Actimmune, used to treat osteoporosis and chronic granulomatous disease, continues to be the most expensive drug in the US.
This data reflects overall US prescriptions (not fills using GoodRx) and comes from several sources, including pharmacies and insurers, providing a representative sample of nationwide prescription drug volume.
Prices for 4 drugs increased by more than 9%
Four drugs saw large price increases over 9% this August:
- Ery is an antibiotic used to treat bacterial infections. While most people are filling for the generic, erythromycin, the price for one jar of Ery increased by 15% from $67.14 to $77.21 in August.
- Plexion is a sulfa antibiotic that is used on the skin to treat acne and rosacea. All forms and dosages of Plexion increased by 9.9% in August.
- Doralis a benzodiazepine used to treat insomnia. The list price for one 15 mg tablet increased by 9.4% in August from $21.48 to $23.50.
- Veltassa is a potassium binder, and it’s used to treat hyperkalemia (high potassium levels in the blood). The price for one packet of Veltassa (8.4 g, 16.8 g or 25.2 g) increased by 9.4% from $25.00 to $27.36 in August.
These prices are based on list prices—the price set by the drug manufacturer.
Claims for inhalers are on the rise
According to the GoodRx Index, fills for Ventolin, ProAir and Qvar increased by 19%, 15% and 11% respectively from July to August. This does not come as a surprise though, considering the especially bad fire season that has affected a majority of the western United States.
Since the beginning of summer, more than 50 large fires have devastated parts of the western United States, spreading smoke and increasing asthma rates. Fire season started early this year, so it’s likely that fills for inhalers will increase if new fires arise.
The 10 most popular drugs in August
Here were the 10 most popular drugs in August based on a representative sample of fills at US pharmacies. They reflect overall US prescriptions, not fills using GoodRx.
The 10 most expensive drugs in August
These were the 10 most expensive outpatient drugs in August based on list prices for a typical one-month prescription.
- Actimmune – $53,321
- Daraprim – $45,000
- Cinryze – $44,140
- Chenodal – $42,750
- Myalept – $42,137
- H.P. Acthar – $38,892
- Juxtapid – $36,992
- Firazyr – $32,468
- Harvoni – $31,500
- Cuprimine – $31,426
Some other news from August
- One of the biggest pharmacy benefit managers, Express Scripts, announced that they will be excluding 48 new drugs from insurance coverage in 2019.
- A new GoodRx analysis revealed the very intricate relationship between drugs, fast food and diabetes. Read more here.
- Multiple lots of the popular heart medication Valsartan were recalled after the FDA found a cancer-causing substance in the drugs.
- A new report revealed that we may need to wait as long as 40 years to see a cost-saving generic for some top brand-name drugs.
- A GoodRx analysis revealed that the market for epinephrine autoinjectors has changed dramatically in the two years since parents realized that the manufacturer of EpiPen raised EpiPen prices by over 400% in just two years.
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