Drug prices

Drug price reforms still don't scare Wall Street

A patient pours prescription bills out of a bottle into his hand.
A patient pours prescription pills out of a bottle. Photo: Craig F. Walker/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

Wall Street still mostly believes President Trump's drug pricing blueprint doesn't present any immediate, large-scale disruptions to the industry as the Trump administration remains focused on changing things like rebates instead lowering net prices.

What they're saying: "Successful efforts at lowering out-of-pocket spend for patients could ultimately help boost volumes and be a positive for the [pharmaceutical] group, but at minimum things seem to be heading in a direction that is at least neutral for the group and likely much better than previously feared." — Vamil Divan, pharma analyst at Credit Suisse, in a note to investors this month

Combining common drugs with a high price tag

Brand and generic over-the-counter pain medications.
Some drugs combine common meds into one high-priced capsule. Photo: Karen Bleier/AFP via Getty Images

Common medications like ibuprofen or naproxen don't cost a lot on their own. But in several instances, drug manufacturers blend those kinds of medicines into one tablet and then sell the combined drug for hundreds or even thousands of dollars.

Why it matters: Patients and the public are paying huge sums of money for cocktails of old medications that are cheaper when bought separately. Experts say the system is loaded with perverse incentives, and that pharmaceutical companies and intermediaries like pharmacy benefit managers have worked in tandem.