WASHINGTON, D.C. (April 12, 2017) — With the crisis over prescription drug prices intensifying in the United States, Prescription Justice today released a new analysis of the top 12 drugs with the highest dollar price increases over the past five years.
Using data compiled from public sources, all 12 of the “dirty dozen” on Prescription Justice’s Rx Rip-offs list have risen more than $600 per monthly prescription over the past five years, and the top five medications on the list have all risen more than $1,600 in that timeframe.
The No. 1 medication on the list is Subsys, an expensive pain management drug used primarily for unmanageable pain caused by end-of-life illnesses. From 2013 to the end of 2016, Subsys went from about $4,200 a month to about $7,300 — a price change of more than $3,000.
The No. 4 drug — Duexis — shows just how far pharmaceutical companies will go to hike prices for drugs that are otherwise affordable. Duexis is a combination of the relatively inexpensive, over-the-counter drugs ibuprofen and famotidine — the active ingredients in Advil and Pepcid, respectively. Used to treat arthritis pain and prevent stomach ulcers caused by high doses of ibuprofen, Duexis’ cost has risen 1171% — from $166 per month in 2012 to $2,116 today. If consumers were to buy the components of Duexis separately and over-the-counter, the monthly price would be closer to a mere $34, Prescription Justice discovered.
“Drug companies are shamelessly price gouging consumers for prescriptions that cost far less in other Western countries,” said Jodi Dart, executive director of Prescription Justice. “Our new analysis shows the real impact these price increases are having on Americans’ wallets and proves once again how urgent this crisis is. We would urge President Trump and Congress to move swiftly on prescription drug pricing reforms to give consumers the relief they so desperately need.”
The Rx Rip-offs list shows that prescription price hikes are not limited to medications that treat rare disorders. The drug costs that have risen the most treat common conditions from osteoporosis and depression to asthma and arthritis, the analysis shows.
Prescription Justice is a non-profit organization that brings together doctors, lawyers, public health advocates, and companies dedicated to helping people afford medication. Prescription Justice advocates for legislative and policy reforms to allow personal prescription importation, permitting Medicare to negotiate drug prices, and ending “pay to delay” activities by pharmaceutical companies that prevent lower cost generics from coming to market.