Despite public outcry to rein in drug prices, pharmaceutical companies continue to raise prices with Congress implementing few measures to address the price upsurge, according to The Wall Street Journal.
Here are six key takeaways:
1. Between May 2015 and May 2016, U.S. pharmaceutical companies increased prices by 9.7 percent, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics' Producer Price Index data.
2. The complex nature of drug discounts and rebates, when coupled with a fragmented healthcare system, makes it challenging for U.S. agencies to accurately assess and track drug pries. Despite these obstacles, drug companies still detail what drove or detracted from sales in their regulatory filings.
3. While the companies outline the factors after taking into consideration all the rebates and discounts they provide payers and pharmacy-benefit managers, drug manufacturers use these discounts to persuade the industry that payers are checking their pricing power. However, the drug companies' financial disclosing paint a different story in which net prices increase and their revenue skyrockets even with the discounts.
4. New York-based Pfizer attributed its $2 billion U.S. revenue to price increases and more prescription volume. Additionally, Biogen had sales reaching $744.3 million in the first quarter, with the company saying it benefited from price hikes.
5. Amgen sales from its anti-inflammatory drug Enbrel increased 24 percent to $1.39 billion in the first three months of 2016, with a spokesperson saying "the decision to adjust price over time is based on many factors," such as the competitive marketplace as well as payer restrictions on drug access.
6. Last year, per-capita spending on Medicare's Part D program increased 11.6 percent, reaching $89.5 billion. The board of trustees who oversees Medicare benefits attributes this hike, which reached historic levels, to brand-name drug price increases.
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