Big Pharma Price Hikes Continue As Americans Grapple With Financial Hardships

Patients Face Rising Costs for Critical Medications to Treat COVID-19 Related Effects

WASHINGTON D.C. – Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, more than 58 million Americans struggled to afford their prescription drugs.  Now, the economic impact of the health crisis continues to leave millions of American workers, families and seniors struggling just to stay afloat.  Meanwhile, a new report released by Patients For Affordable Drugs show that Big Pharma is doing business as usual, raising prescription drug prices and making it harder for American patients to afford their medications at the most challenging of moments: in the midst of America’s battle against the pandemic.

The report finds that since January, some pharmaceutical companies have increased prices for more than 1,000 drugs, with more than 200 price increases since July.  In fact, Big Pharma hiked prescription drug prices on at least 67 brand name drugs in July 2020 at the height of the public health crisis while receiving billions in taxpayer funding for research and development on COVID-19.  

“Patent abuse enables Big Pharma to continue its price hikes on important older medicines that should be subject to competition.  Without action to reform the patent system, Big Pharma will continue to repeatedly hike prices and reap the profits by engaging in a host of anti-competitive schemes that block generic and biosimilar competition.  The ability for Americans to afford their prescription drugs truly does hang in the balance.  While pharmaceutical companies make life-saving treatments and cures, it does not give them the right to price-gouge hardworking families to pad their own bottom lines,” stated CAPA Executive Director Matthew Lane.

In a closer look at 10 price hikes being taken, one drug – Fanapt – is available at a steep price, with one month’s supply rising in price from about $1,100 to $1,385 during the pandemic.  This drug relies on the patenting of a safety protocol – adjusting dosage based on a genotype test – in order to keep generics out of the market.  These types of patents are controversial, and many have been found to be unpatentable subject matter.  However, Vanda’s patent on Fanapt has so far been upheld.