Jan 8, 2019

Why drug prices keep rising

Photo: George Frey/Getty Images

Two factors contribute to rising drug costs — price increases for existing drugs, and new drugs coming to market with high price tags.

The big picture: Each of those factors affects different parts of the market, according to a study published in the latest issue of Health Affairs. New products largely drive the cost increases for generics and specialty drugs, the study found, but price hikes on existing treatments drive the rising cost of brand-name drugs.

My thought bubble: A lot of the political debate over drug prices falls along these same lines.

  • The pharmaceutical industry would rather have a conversation about new specialty drugs that carry high price tags, but which often work a lot better than other, older treatments.
  • But the industry’s critics point to steep price hikes on old drugs — insulin is a prime example, as was the EpiPen — that are getting more expensive even though they’re not changing.
  • We’ll see plenty of both in 2019.

Go deeper: The drug pricing maze

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Updated 6 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 8 a.m. ET: 6,294,222 — Total deaths: 376,077 — Total recoveries — 2,711,241Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 8 a.m. ET: 1,811,277 — Total deaths: 105,147 — Total recoveries: 458,231 — Total tested: 17,340,682Map.
  3. Public health: Nearly 26,000 coronavirus deaths in nursing homes have been reported to federal health officials —Coronavirus looms over George Floyd protests across the country.
  4. Federal government: Trump lashes out at governors, calls for National Guard to "dominate" streets.
  5. World: Former FDA commissioner says "this is not the time" to cut ties with WHO.
  6. 🎧 Podcast: The virus didn't go away.

More than 1 in 6 black workers lost jobs between February and April

Adapted from EPI analysis of Bureau of Labor Statistics data; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

As is often the case, the staggering job losses in the coronavirus-driven recession have been worse for black workers.

By the numbers: According to a report from the Economic Policy Institute, titled "Racism and economic inequality have predisposed black workers to be most hurt by coronavirus pandemic," more than 1 in 6 black workers lost their jobs between February and April.

Coronavirus could lower GDP by $15.7 trillion

Reproduced from Congressional Budget Office; Chart: Axios Visuals

The CBO released projections on Monday for U.S. nominal GDP to be lower by $15.7 trillion over the next decade than its estimate in January as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

What they're saying: It predicts that when adjusted for inflation GDP will be $7.9 trillion lower over the next decade and down by $790 billion in the second quarter of this year — a 37.7% quarterly contraction.