The start of each new year brings a lot of “new-ness,” including a new round of price increases on brand-name drugs. This year has been no exception, and the media has been all over the subject. Unfortunately, we’ve found it difficult to figure out the “so what?” behind all of these price increases. On one hand, we are being told that the pharmaceutical manufacturers are back to “business as usual,” while on the other we are being told that the number of price increases are down meaningfully from last year. Which one is it? This felt like an opportunity to inject a healthy dose of facts into this discussion. So we set out to build a dashboard, 46brooklyn’s Brand Drug Price Change Box Score, that lets you visualize all brand-name manufacturer list price changes that are publicly-reported each week, drill down to the manufacturer and drug level, strength level, and compare and contrast different periods.
In August, the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) released a special report highlighting the Trump administration’s progress on lowering drug prices for Americans. The HHS report, which focused on the first 100 days since the administration released its American Patients First blueprint, claimed to have achieved less brand-name drug price increases and more drug price decreases than the same period in 2017. While this is great to hear, we wanted to learn more about what this means for consumers. This 46brooklyn report highlights where the Trump administration seems to be making headway, where things still seem incomplete, and why despite any progress made on list prices, it may not mean that spending on prescription drugs has declined.