Jun 29, 2020 - Health

The coronavirus pandemic hasn't stopped drug price increases

Illustration of hands in a suit chiseling a dollar sign into a pill

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Pharmaceutical companies raised the price of 245 drugs between January 20 and June 20, according to a new analysis by Patients for Affordable Drugs.

Between the lines: Some of these drugs are directly related to the pandemic. And the hikes occurred against the backdrop of economic calamity hitting many American families.

  • The average price increase was 23.8%.

By the numbers: 61 of the drugs with price hikes were being used to treat the coronavirus, while another 30 were undergoing clinical trials for use against it.

  • Some of the drugs — like those used to sedate ventilated patients — saw both a surge in demand and an increase in price.
  • "Although some price hikes may be attributable to interruptions in global manufacturing supply chains, others can be attributed to opportunistic hikes in the face of steep increases in demand," the authors write.

Another 118 drugs that saw price increases are used to manage chronic conditions.

  • These patients are generally more vulnerable to severe coronavirus infections, and thus may be facing harder decisions about returning to work.

Go deeper: Brand-name prescription drug prices have spiked since 2007

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