Prices for Two Specialty Cancer Medications Surge: GoodRx Monthly Report

Tori Marsh
Tori Marsh, MPH, is on the Research Team at GoodRx, and is the resident expert on drug pricing and savings.
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As if charging people over $15,000 per month for two specialty medications wasn’t already enough, manufacturer Bayer increased their prices by 8% in May to over $18,000 per month, according to a GoodRx analysis.

The GoodRx Index also showed the following drug trends in May:

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 US prescription drug volume.

Prices for Two Cancer Medications Increased This Month

Stivarga and Nexavar are two specialty medications manufactured by Bayer and are used to treat certain kinds of cancer. Just this past month, prices for these two medications jumped by about 8%. You may be thinking that 8% isn’t that big of an increase, but take a look at this:

Back in April, the list price (the official price of the drug set by the manufacturer) for Stivarga was $15,625 for a one-month supply. In just one month, that list price jumped by $1,234 to $16,860. At the same time, the list price for a 30-day supply of Nexavar increased by $1,367 to $18,670.

Diabetes Drugs Keep Getting More Expensive

This past February, we reported that prices for diabetes medications had increased by 15% in the preceding year, and that trend has continued into May. This month, prices for diabetes medications are up 2% from April. Altogether this year so far, prices for diabetes medications have already increased by 11%.

This is a scary trend. Diabetes medications, like gliptins, insulins, and even test strips are already unaffordable for many. Some people are shielded from paying for expensive diabetes drugs, either because a cheaper generic is available or the brand drug is covered by insurance. For most people though, they’re forced to pay the full cash price because a large number of these drugs are brand-only and often aren’t covered by insurance.

Allergy Season Rages On

Earlier this month, we reported on this year’s allergy season, appropriately coined “Pollengeddon”. At of the end of April, allergy medication fills outpaced the average rate of increase over the last four years by 13%, and we predicted that things would only get worse. We were right.

This May, fills for five allergy medications (montelukast, cetirizine, hydroxyzine, fluticasone, and loratadine) are up 6% since April, and 30% since February when allergy season started.

The Most Popular Drugs in May

  1. Atorvastatin
  2. Levothyroxine
  3. Lisinopril
  4. Hydrocodone/acetaminophen
  5. Amlodipine
  6. Omeprazole
  7. Ventolin
  8. Fluticasone propionate
  9. Ibuprofen
  10. Prednisone

The Most Expensive Drugs in May

  1. Actimmune – $53,321
  2. Daraprim – $45,000
  3. Cinryze – $44,140
  4. Chenodal – $42,750
  5. Myalept – $42,137
  6. H.P. Acthar – $38,892
  7. Juxtapid – $36,992
  8. Firazyr – $32,468
  9. Harvoni – $31,500
  10. Cuprimine – $31,426

Some other news from May

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