In our first drug pricing report, we highlighted the disturbing trend of some state Medicaid programs grossly overpaying on an already-pricey generic version of Gleevec. Today, in our new report we are examining the opposite end of the spectrum: a drug that was very cheap ... until it wasn't.
It is well-known that competition in the generic manufacturer marketplace drives drug prices down considerably. Plaquenil, a brand-name drug that has been on the market since 1955, eventually saw generics enter the market almost a quarter of a century ago. By all accounts, generic Plaquenil – known as hydroxychloroquine – had become a very affordable drug at approximately 10 cents per pill, but those affordable prices didn't last forever.
A few years ago, FDA actions quickly dried up the supply of the drug, causing prices to balloon more than 2,500%. Our new report examines how state Medicaid programs were impacted by this price spike, and how some states continued paying elevated rates even after the price came crashing back down. The report also includes some new embedded visualizations to help you further explore Medicaid drug pricing.
We'd also like to thank Alison Kodjak at NPR, Ed Silverman at Pharmalot, and Ellen Andrews and Connecticut Health Policy Project for highlighting our work this week.