More drug companies raise US prices for 2020

NEW YORK: Novartis AG, Merck & Co Inc and Allergan Plc were among companies that raised US prices on more than 100 prescription medicines on Friday, bringing the tally to 445 drugs that will cost more in 2020, according to data analysed by healthcare research firm 3 Axis Advisors.
That is above the average of 404 drug price increases in the first three days of January over the past five years. Nearly all of the price increases are below 10 per cent, with the median price increase around 5 per cent, according to 3 Axis.
Swiss drugmaker Novartis raised prices on nearly 30 drugs including psoriasis treatment Cosentyx and multiple sclerosis medicine Gilenya, 3 Axis said. Most of those increases were in the range of 5.5 per cent to 7 per cent.
Novartis said that while it is raising the list prices of about 7 per cent of its US medicines, after discounts and rebates to commercial and government payers it expects a net price decrease of 2.5 per cent in 2020.
US drugmaker Merck raised prices on about 15 drugs, including diabetes medicines Januvia and Janumet, mostly around 5 per cent, 3 Axis said.
The list price of its top-selling cancer immunotherapy Keytruda, expected to tally more than $13 billion in 2019 sales, was pushed up 1.5 per cent.
Merck in a statement said the increases are consistent with its commitment to not raise US net prices by more than inflation annually.
Ireland-based Allergan, which is being acquired by rival AbbVie Inc for more than $60 billion, said it was raising prices on 25 drugs by 5 per cent and on two more medicines by 2-3 per cent. But with higher rebates and discounts, it said, net pricing would be flat to lower in 2020.
Reuters previously reported that Pfizer Inc, Bristol-Myers Squibb Co and AbbVie were among drugmakers that had raised prices on more than 330 drugs to start the year.
Soaring healthcare costs for US consumers, and prescription drug prices in particular, are expected to again be a central issue in the 2020 presidential campaign for parties. — Reuters