ACHP’s infographic series highlights drug cost trends for widely prescribed drugs within various therapeutic classes and communicates the potential effect of these prices on key stakeholders.
» Generics (released in June 2017): Transparency in drug pricing can help increase competition in the marketplace and help consumers make better choices about their health care. Yet, consumers often lack the information they need. Key takeaways include:
- While generic drugs generally provide a low cost alternative to brand name drugs, a lack of competition in the generic market is arbitrarily increasing prices, making generics as costly as brand drugs.
- The generic drug market is seeing some of the same pricing tactics as is the branded drug market. For example, after a branded drug increased its prices to $300 (nearly a 600% increase) in 2016, one of the generic versions followed suit with a 425% price increase to $225.
- Choosing one generic over another can save a lot of money, but that information isn’t always available.
- Doctors, purchasers, manufacturers and intermediaries need to work together to improve access to and affordability of prescription drugs.
» LDL Cholesterol (released in September 2016). Key takeaways include:
- Generic statins cost as little as $3.30 per month, are proven safe and generally well tolerated.
- Generic statins can both lower LDL cholesterol and reduce the number of heart attacks and strokes by 20 percent.
- PCSK9 inhibitors cost between $1,139 and $1,176 per month – and are best suited for people with familial hypercholesterolemia, or, fewer than 1 percent of patients with high LDL.
- PCSK9 inhibitors have undetermined effects on cardiovascular morbidity and mortality.
» Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) (released in March 2016). Key takeaways include:
- The annual cost of treating RA in the U.S. is expected to increase by almost 50 percent from 2013 to 2020, and is expected to reach over $9 billion.
- The RA drug Enbrel now costs more than $4,000 for a 30-day supply, an 80 percent increase since 2013.
- The cost of RA drugs can exceed more than $1 million over the course of a lifetime.
- Sixty percent of people with inadequately treated RA are unable to work 10 years after onset.
» Multiple Sclerosis (MS) (released in December 2015). Key takeaways include:
- New MS drugs are launching at costs that are as much as 25-60 percent higher than the price of existing drugs.
- The cost of “first-generation” MS drugs already available to consumers can now top $60,000 per year, up from $8,000-$11,000 when they were first released.
- The MS drug Lemtrada, approved in 2014, costs $158,000 for a two-year course of treatment.
- The price of the MS drug Avonex has skyrocketed 537 percent since 2001, and now costs nearly $5,300 for a 30-day supply.
» Diabetes (released in August 2015). Key takeaways include:
- For six popular, brand-name diabetes drugs, costs rose over 150 percent apiece in the last five years, with two drugs seeing increases of over 250 percent.
- Primarily because of escalating drug costs, spending on insulin and other diabetes medications is expected to rise 18.3 percent over the next three years, a rate of increase 60 times greater than the recent income growth average of just 0.3 percent across all households.
- In 2012, the national cost of treating diabetes was a staggering $245 billion.
ACHP has created a slide deck for public use featuring some of the graphics and statistics in our infographic series. Access the slide deck here.
More information on the rising cost of prescription drugs is available on our Prescription Drugs webpage.