The cost of many popular prescription drugs has increased substantially in the U.S. in the past six years, and the trend may continue if bold bipartisan action isn’t taken, according to a study published Friday.
The study, in the journal JAMA Network Open, found a substantial industry-wide rise in insurer and out-of-pocket costs for top-selling, brand-name prescription drugs, highlighting one of the foremost problems in health care today: unimpeded price increases in the pharmaceutical market.
In the study, researchers from the Scripps Research Translational Institute analyzed Blue Cross Blue Shield pharmacy claims from 2012 to 2017, focusing on a total of 49 brand-name drugs that had more than 100,000 total claims each.
All but one of the drugs included in the study saw regular annual or biannual cost increases. The cost of 36 of the drugs increased over the six-year period by more than 50 percent, and the cost of 16 more than doubled. Overall, the median cost of the drugs included in the study increased 76 percent.
Insulin drugs such as Novolog, Humalog and Lantus and rheumatology drugs such as Humira and Enbrel had some of the largest increases in costs. The price of Humira, for example, rose from $1,940 in January 2012, to $4,338 by December 2017.