The United States is notorious for having some of the highest prescription drug prices in the world. But just how high are they in 2019?
America’s 10 most expensive drugs
The following drug prices are calculated based on the list or cash prices for a month’s supply of the drug. Prices of these drugs may be lower with insurance. However, about 82 million Americans have no health insurance, or health insurance that is not affordable enough for them to use.
Note: These drugs are covered by Medicare Part D and self-administered by patients at home. There are other, more expensive drugs excluded from the list such as chemotherapy drugs. These drugs were omitted from the list because they are covered by Medicare Part B and administered in a doctor’s office, cancer clinic, or hospital.
Why are these drug prices so high?
Many of the drugs on this list are the only drug available to treat very rare, debilitating, and sometimes fatal conditions. When a drug company has a monopoly on a drug, they can essentially charge whatever they want with very little pushback from the federal government.
However, companies having a monopoly on a drug is often by design. For example, one drug company will pay another company to not create a more affordable, generic version of the drug for a certain number of years. This practice is called pay-for-delay; it is illegal and costs taxpayers an estimated $3.5 billion annually.
How are politicians responding to soaring drug prices?
Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) is running for president on a platform of healthcare reform, including lower costs of insulin and ending pay-for-delay deals. However, not every congressperson is trying to reduce drug prices.
In early 2019, Representatives Mark Meadows (R-NC) and Jim Jordan (R-OH) were caught interfering with a drug pricing investigation launched by the House Oversight Committee. The Committee Chairman, the late Representative Elijah Cummings (D-MD), sent letters to the top 12 drug companies in the United States, asking CEOs to sit down before the committee and explain why their drug prices are so high, as well as what parameters they use when deciding to raise a drug’s price. Meadows and Jordan sent letters to the drug companies, telling them they should not cooperate with the investigation as it might negatively affect the drug company’s stock prices.
Drug prices are a hot-button issue going into the 2020 presidential race. Be sure to like us on Facebook for the latest on drug pricing bills.