The first-ever mandatory California drug price report reveals Big Pharma's farcical price-gouging

In 2017, California passed a state law mandating disclosure of wholesale drug prices, something the Big Pharma companies fought tooth and nail. Now, the first of those disclosures has taken place, and it reveals spectacular levels of price-gouging from the pharmaceutical industry's greediest monopolists: an overall rise of 25.8% in the median drug price since 2017.

But the median obscures the incredible increases in the prices at the top end: generic liquid Prozac went up by 667%, generic ADHD meds went up more than 200%, and so on. The companies behind these increases cite nebulous and improbable causes like "market conditions" and (hilariously) "manufacturing costs" for the hikes.

PHRMA, the lobbying body for Big Pharma, says there's nothing to see here, because these prices "do not reflect discounts and rebates for insurers and pharmacy benefit managers."

PHRMA is suing to overturn the law.

California's new drug law requires companies to report drug price increases quarterly. Only companies that met certain standards — they raised the price of a drug within the first quarter and the price had risen by at least 16% since January 2017 — had to submit data. The companies that met the standards were required to provide pricing data for the previous five years. In its initial report, the state focused its analysis on drug-pricing trends for about 1,000 products from January 2017 through March 2019.

California's transparency law also requires drugmakers to state why they are raising prices. Over time, that information, in addition to cost disclosures, could create "one of the more comprehensive and official drug databases on prices that we have nationwide," Wright said. "That, in itself, is progress, so that we can get better information on the rationale for drug price increases."

California's New Transparency Law Reveals Steep Rise In Wholesale Drug Prices
[Barbara Feder Ostrov and Harriet Blair Rowan/California Health Online]

(via Naked Capitalism)