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:
- Brand-name diabetes medications keep getting more expensive.
- Allergy season rages on.
- Daraprim and Harvoni are among the current most expensive medications 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 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
- Fluticasone propionate
The Most Expensive Drugs in May
- 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 May
- The GoodRx index revealed that 2018 is a bad year for allergies. Read more about “Pollengeddon” here.
- The FDA approved a cannabis-derived drug for epilepsy.
- Walmart announced that they will be limiting opioid prescriptions to a seven-day supply and will not accept discount coupons for any opioid.
- Walgreens announced a new savings program they will be testing in 17 Florida stores.
- As the White House issued their drug pricing plan, GoodRx CEO Doug Hirsch discussed his ideas on how to fix high drug prices in the US.
- The FDA approved the first drug to specifically prevent migraines.
- Are you having trouble with your prescription coverage? GoodRx released a beginner’s guide to insurance formularies with reasons why drugs may not be covered and what to do about them.
- The FDA approved a new biosimilar for anemia drugs Epogen and Procrit.
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