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Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

The average launch prices for new brand-name drugs have skyrocketed over the past decade, according to an analysis from drug research firm 46brooklyn.

Why it matters: The U.S. prescription drug market increasingly has thrived on high initial price tags and subsequent increases. That has resulted in higher premiums and out-of-pocket costs for new drugs, as well as more expensive generics.

Between the lines: Pharmaceutical companies are not raising prices of existing drugs as frequently as they used to, due in part to political heat. However, more new drugs are coming out with 6- and 7-figure list prices — most notably drugs like Zolgensma and Luxturna.

  • Higher starting prices for brand-name drugs are costly on their own, but they also beget higher starting prices for their generics.

By the numbers: Using data from Elsevier's Gold Standard Drug Database and the federal government, analysts at 46brooklyn organized the launch prices of both brand and generic drugs for each year they came out, going back to 2006.

  • The median monthly price of a new brand-name drug has increased 381% since 2006 (from $150 to $722).
  • The median monthly price of a new generic drug has increased 712% since 2006 (about $100 to almost $800).
  • These are list prices, not net prices, and therefore do not reflect any rebates given by manufacturers to middlemen. But these prices still affect patients' out-of-pocket costs, and some list prices could be close to actual net prices paid depending on the contract and marketplace.

One step further: Almost 80% of all generic drugs studied had no decrease in their average wholesale price in the past 5 years.

The bottom line: There is systemic failure in the pharmaceutical market. Rising starting points for drugs benefit every entity, except patients.

  • Brand-name drugmakers reap the first rewards and usually don't provide a lot of, if any, rebates for new drugs with no competitors.
  • Generics manufacturers often don't lower prices by much after a drug patent elapses.
  • Pharmacy benefit managers pocket the difference between what they charge insurance programs for overpriced generics and what they pay pharmacists.
  • Wholesalers and pharmacists collect their smaller cuts along the way.

Go deeper: The drug pricing maze

Editor's note: This post has been updated to note the analysis looks at list prices, not net prices.

Go deeper

Major companies vow to train, hire Afghan refugees arriving in U.S.

Chobani founder and CEO Hamdi Ulukaya. Photo: Jeff Spicer/Getty Images for Global Citizen

More than 30 major companies have promised to hire and train Afghan refugees coming to the U.S., per a press release from the Tent Partnership for Refugees, the group spearheading the effort.

The big picture: The 33 companies, including Amazon, Facebook, Pfizer and UPS, are joining the Tent Coalition for Afghan Refugees, a coalition founded by Hamdi Ulukaya, the founder and CEO of yogurt and food company Chobani.

Hispanic Heritage Month: Gracias, México, for color TVs

The patent diagram (left) from Guillermo González Camarena's chromoscopic adapter, and he and the engineer (right inspecting TV equipment around 1955 in Mexico City. Photos: U.S. Patent Office and Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia de México

Credit Mexican engineering and entrepreneurship for developments that led to the in color television, oral contraception and finding a way to help mend the ozone layer.

Why it matters: The contributions helped modernize how we could see the world; improve women's health and expand women's roles beyond the home; and identify dangerous emissions and how to reduce them.

Ipsos poll: Support growing for abortion rights in Latin America

Members of feminist groups in Saltillo, Mexico, after the decriminalization of abortion was approved in Coahuila, Mexico. Photo: Antonio Ojeda/Agencia Press South/Getty Images

Support for abortion rights in some Latin American countries has jumped considerably since 2014, with Argentina seeing the biggest shift, an Ipsos poll finds.

The big picture: The view that abortion should be permitted at least under certain circumstances is held by a majority of adults surveyed in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Mexico and Peru.