Mar 4, 2020 - Health

Brand-name prescription drug prices have spiked since 2007

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Reproduced from Hernandez et. al, 2020, "Changes in List Prices, Net Prices, and Discounts for Branded Drugs in the US, 2007-2018"; Chart: Axios Visuals

The price of brand-name prescription drugs went up by 60% between 2007 and 2018, after accounting for rebates and discounts, according to a new study in JAMA.

Why it matters: Drugmakers often argue that the uproar over drug prices is overblown, saying it focuses too much on list prices instead of the discounted prices insurance plans end up paying. But this study shows that those prices, too, are rising.

  • And patients who are uninsured or haven't yet met their deductible are exposed to the list price of a drug, not its discounted rate.

By the numbers: The average Medicaid drug discount increased from 40% in 2007 to 76% in 2018, the study found.

  • Discounts to other payers increased from 23% to 51%.

Go deeper: Drug price hikes are back for 2020

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Drugmakers warn of medication shortages from coronavirus

Tourists with face masks walk through Union Square in New York City on Feb. 28. Photo: Timothy A. Clary/AFP via Getty Images

Some of the largest drugmakers — including AstraZeneca, Merck and Pfizer — have said that the coronavirus outbreak could affect their supplies or sales, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Between the lines: Drug shortages can end up being incredibly serious for patients, but they're not good for business either.

Go deeperArrowMar 2, 2020 - Health

Possible coronavirus drug causes poisonings in Nigeria

Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Nigeria is reporting two poisonings from the drug chloroquine, a drug that's been touted as a potential but as-yet unproven treatment for coronavirus, Bloomberg reports.

Reality check: Health officials are warning against self-medicating with the drug, whose safety and effectiveness for coronavirus patients has not been proven.

Go deeperArrowMar 21, 2020 - Health

Price of the CDC coronavirus test: $36

A commercial coronavirus test, like the one above, has a price tag of about $51. Photo: Andrew Theodorakis/Getty Images

Medicare has released the prices of COVID-19 tests: $35.92 for the tests developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and $51.33 for all other commercial tests.

The bottom line: These are the prices that labs bill Medicare. Most health insurers have waived copays for coronavirus tests, meaning you won't have to pay anything upfront. If you receive bills for any amount, especially if they are higher than these prices, you should appeal.