Updated Mar 21, 2018

Drug prices are still going through the roof

The list price of Humira has gone up 19% since January 2017. Photo: JB Reed / Bloomberg via Getty Images

Since President Trump came into office in January 2017, pharmaceutical companies have hiked the prices of hundreds of drugs at rates that significantly outstrip inflation, according to an analysis conducted by Pharmacy Benefits Consultants. Twenty prescription drugs saw their prices rise by more than 200% in the past 14 months.

Between the lines: The pharmaceutical industry has not changed its pricing practices, despite the Trump administration's rhetoric about cracking down on high drug prices.

The details: The consulting firm's analysis covers changes in the average wholesale prices of hundreds of drugs in the 14-month period from January 2017 to March 2018. The firm looked at average wholesale prices instead of wholesale acquisition costs because most pharmacy benefit contracts have terms based on average wholesale prices, and average wholesale prices are directly related to wholesale acquisition costs.

  • The big one: SynerDerm, a prescription skin cream, had the largest price hike. Phlight Pharma, the maker of SynerDerm, raised the list price by 1,468% over the past 14 months.
  • The runners-up: A total of 39 drugs saw price hikes of at least 100%, although many of them — like anti-venom extracts — are rarely used and don't cost the health care system much overall.
  • What to watch: High-cost, high-use prescriptions like Humira, Enbrel and Revlimid. AbbVie hiked the price of Humira, the highest-selling drug in the world, by 19% over the 14-month period, and Amgen did the same for Enbrel. Celgene raised the list price of Revlimid by 20%.
  • Opioids: Some of the most well-known painkillers, including Purdue Pharma's OxyContin and Endo Pharmaceuticals' Percocet, had their prices increased by 20% or more.

The impact: These are increases in the drugs' list prices, before rebates and discounts are applied. People with insurance don't pay these full amounts, but price hikes still affect everyone — co-pays and deductibles are often based on drugs' list prices, and uninsured patients can find themselves on the hook for a drug's entire list price.

Pharmacy benefit managers that negotiate with drug companies also don't disclose rebate figures, and PBMs are able to keep other rebate-like fees.

Go deeper: Every drug in the analysis.

Update: The story has been updated to reflect why the consulting firm analyzed average wholesale prices.

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Trump rules out quarantine in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut after pushback

President Trump on the White House grounds on Saturdya. Photo: Sarah Silbiger/Getty Images

President Trump tweeted Saturday night that he's decided not try and enforce a short-term quarantine on New York, New Jersey and parts of Connecticut, but a "strong" travel advisory will be issued for those states.

Why it matters: The president said hours earlier he was considering the move to combat the rise in novel coronavirus cases. But he received pushback, most notably from New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D), who told CNN it would cause "chaos." "This would be a federal declaration of war on states," Cuomo added.

Trump weighs quarantine of New York, New Jersey, Connecticut

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

President Trump said Saturday he's considering a short-term quarantine of New York, New Jersey and parts of Connecticut, which have already taken steps to help residents isolate. Gov. Andrew Cuomo reacted to Trump's comments by telling CNN, "This would be a federal declaration of war on states" and that it would cause "chaos."

The big picture: With more than 121,000 people infected, the U.S. has the most COVID-19 cases in the world, exceeding China and Italy, per data from Johns Hopkins. A second wave of American cities, including Boston, Detroit, New Orleans and Philadelphia, are reporting influxes of cases.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 25 mins ago - Health

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 7:30 p.m. ET: 660,706 — Total deaths: 30,652 — Total recoveries: 139,304.
  2. U.S.: Leads the world in cases. Total confirmed cases as of 7:30 p.m. ET: 121,478 — Total deaths: 2,026 — Total recoveries: 1,072.
  3. Federal government latest: President Trump is considering a quarantine on New York, parts of New Jersey and Connecticut.
  4. State updates: Alaska is latest state to issue a stay-at-home order — New York is trying to nearly triple its hospital capacity in less than a month and has moved its presidential primary to June 23. Some Midwestern swing voters that supported Trump's handling of the virus less than two weeks ago are now balking at his call for the U.S. to be "opened up" by Easter.
  5. World updates: In Spain, over 1,400 people were confirmed dead between Thursday to Saturday.
  6. 🚀 Space updates: OneWeb filed for bankruptcy amid the novel coronavirus pandemic.
  7. Hollywood: Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson have returned to U.S. after being treated for coronavirus.
  8. What should I do? Answers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk
  9. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

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