With the oncoming loss of patent protection this year for its bell cow, Humira, AbbVie is taking advantage of its limited window with yet another price hike, this one 8%, for the treatment that generated $15.7 billion in the first three quarters of last year.
AbbVie has clocked in with the same 8% hike for another of its big-sellers, Skyrizi. Meanwhile, GSK has jacked up the cost of its shingles vaccine Shingrix, and Bristol Myers Squibb has done the same with CAR-T drugs Abecma and Breyanzi (9% each). For its part, Pfizer has raised the price on dozens of drugs, according to data compiled by AnalySource.
The organization issues a report on drug price increases each week in January. While many companies reveal price hikes at the start of the year, some postpone theirs until later in the month. The most recent report covers increases up to Jan. 17.
The winner in the price hike sweepstakes so far this year is GE Healthcare, coming hard with a 26.8% boost in the price of Omnipaque, a contrast agent for X-ray imaging. The runner-up is Leadiant Biosciences with a 20.6% increase for Cystaran, a treatment for a rare eye condition.
In all so far this year, 587 brands have registered price increases, which exceeds last year’s figure of 527, AnalySource said. Additionally, the price hikes this year have averaged out at 5.48% versus 5.11% from last year.
As for therapy areas so far, thyroid treatments have seen the highest average increases at 10%, with otic (ear) preparations and antimalaria products followed close behind at 9.9% each.
Among other Big Pharma products, Pfizer increased prices for cancer treatments Xalkori and Ibrance by 7.9% and rheumatoid arthritis treatment Xeljanz by 6%. Also of note is Gilead’s 5.9% increase for HIV therapy Biktarvy.
These hikes come at a time of consternation for the industry after passage of the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), which will eventually give Medicare the ability to negotiate the cost of some top-selling drugs. Some of this year’s increases are a challenge to another IRA provision designed to prevent companies from exceeding the rate of inflation, which was 6.5% last year and 7% in 2021.
Meanwhile, the pharma industry has not been immune to inflation and supply chain pressures, which have led to skyrocketing manufacturing costs and forced many companies to cut their payrolls.
The price hike data exclude the effects of rebates and discounts, which typically reduce the actual amount paid for pharmaceuticals.