Hundreds of Prescription Drugs Have Higher Prices in 2022

Carolyn Crist

January 04, 2022

Drug companies raised prices on hundreds of medications on Jan. 1, with most prices up 5% on average.

Prices went up on 460 drugs, which tracks in line with recent years, according to STAT News. The beginning of the new year is the most popular time for drug companies to increase prices, and more will likely come throughout January.

Several major drugs were included in this batch of 2022 price increases:

  • Gilead: 5.6% on HIV drugs named Biktarvy and Descovy

  • Pfizer: 6.9% on breast cancer drug Ibrance, 6.9% on the Prevnar vaccine for pneumonia, and 4.4% on the heart drugs Vyndamax and Vyndaqel

  • Purdue: 5% on opioid drug OxyContin

  • Vertex: 4.9% on Trikafta, a cystic fibrosis medication that has no competitors and already had a list price of more than $311,000 per year

Notably, the increases affect the drugs' list prices, according to Axios. Pharmacy benefit managers can negotiate lower drug prices through rebates, so drugmakers may collect lower net prices.

"We expect net prices to continue to decline due to increased rebates and discounts," a Gilead spokesperson told Axios.

But list prices still are what uninsured people pay, and deductibles and coinsurance rates are often based on a drug's list price, the news outlet reported. Drug companies also often earn most of the list price for patented drugs with little competition.

"The modest increase is necessary to support investments that allow us to continue to discover new medicines and deliver those breakthroughs to the patients who need them," a Pfizer spokesperson told Axios.

Vertex's price increases on Trikafta and other cystic fibrosis drugs are the "first price increases for a Vertex medicine since 2017 and the first ever for…Trikafta," a spokesperson told Axios.

The drug companies didn't answer specific questions about rebates or discounts, the news outlet reported.

Sources:

STAT: "Drug makers ring in the new year with 5% price hikes on hundreds of medicines."

Axios: "The big-ticket drugs that have higher prices in 2022."

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