Median Launch Price For A New Drug Was $2,115 In 2008. In 2021? $180K
Boston researchers looked into the soaring cost of launching a new drug in the U.S. between 2008 and 2021: The median price jumped roughly 20% per year through this period. A separate study highlights the risk of lower price transparency when hospitals merge.
New Drug Prices Soar To $180,000 A Year On 20% Annual Inflation
While gasoline and food prices soar, few products rival the inflation in prices on newly launched prescription drugs, according to a new study. The median launch price of a new drug in the US soared from $2,115 in 2008 to $180,007 in 2021, a 20% annual inflation rate over the period, researchers at Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston found. Even after adjusting for factors such as drugmakers’ focus on expensive disease categories like cancer and estimated discounts that manufacturers give some purchasers, the annual inflation rate in launch prices over the period was still almost 11%. (Langreth, 6/7)
Study Suggests A New Harm From Hospital Mergers: Less Price Transparency
Health care economists argue hospital mergers can raise costs and lower quality. And now, a new study adds another downside: Hospitals in concentrated markets are also less likely to be transparent about their prices. Researchers pored over the websites of more than 5,200 hospitals to check on their adherence to the federal Hospital Price Transparency Final Rule, which took effect in January 2021. Their research letter, published Tuesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association, shows compliance is dismally low — less than 6% — adding to previous research and media reports that found the same. (Bannow, 6/7)
Hospitals Are Required To Post Prices For Common Procedures. Few Do.
Few hospitals are posting the prices of their common procedures online, despite a federal law that went into effect more than a year ago. The Hospital Price Transparency Law is intended to make the hidden costs of services such as X-rays, medical tests or colonoscopies clear to patients before they enter the hospital. But a study published Tuesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association added to mounting evidence that hospitals are largely ignoring the law. (Sullivan and Dunn, 6/8)
Raleigh News & Observer:
1 In 5 North Carolinians Is In Collections For Medical Debt. Should Lawmakers Fix That?
People’s health problems and ensuing medical debt should not be “weaponized” against them, North Carolina Treasurer Dale Folwell said Tuesday, as state lawmakers proposed a bill he helped write that takes aim at hospitals and their billing practices. Folwell, a Republican, noted the bill’s bipartisan list of sponsors. At one point, he cited Democratic U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts when arguing for the bill. Both Folwell and the bill’s lead sponsor, Republican Rep. Ed Goodwin of Edenton, spoke about experiences they have had with hefty medical bills for thousands of dollars. (Doran, 6/8)
‘An Arm And A Leg’: Good News For Your Credit Report
Credit reporting bureaus announced in March that they would start taking most paid medical debt off people’s credit reports. At first, we weren’t sure that would be such a huge deal. After all, the unpaid medical debt would still exist, people would still get harassed by debt collectors, or even sued over it. But it turns out, there are a bunch of reasons these changes could be life-changing, and we want to give credit (the good kind) where it’s due. (Weissmann, 6/8)