You’re not imagining it. Drug prices in the United States continue to escalate at lightning speed. A new Reuters-commissioned analysis reveals that we are now paying three times more than people in the United Kingdom–that’s right, 3 times more–for the top 20-selling drugs in the world. Americans subsidize the cost of drugs for people around the world, paying 6 times more than Brazilians and 16 times more than people in India for the same drugs.
Unlike in every other country, drug companies control the price of drugs in the United States. Not surprisingly, drug companies have jacked up prices astronomically between 2008 and 2014, with prices increasing 127 percent. Shkreli is one of many drug company CEOs giving drugs extraordinary price hikes. Hedgeclippers reports on the 25 drugs with the largest price hikes in the last two years. Since the drug companies control the prices of these drugs, there is no apparent limit to how high they will go. Here are six of the 25:
- After Shkreli became the CEO of Turing pharmaceuticals, he raised the price of one of its drugs, Daraprim, 5,000 percent, from $13.50 to $750 a pill. To enable the increase, he created a barrier to keep generic drug firms from producing a generic equivalent of Daraprim. Of note, Daraprim sells in the United Kingdom for 66 cents.
- Valeant produces 12 of the 25 drugs that have increased most in price in the last two years, an average of 378 percent, and 27 of the 50 drugs that have had the largest price increases. These price increases came at the time it partnered with Pershing Square Capital to buy Allergan.
- Horizon Pharma bought Vimovo a brand-name arthritis drug from AstraZeneca. Because there is no generic alternative, Horizon Pharma was then able to raise Vimovo’s price sky high, in this case 1200 percent in under two years.
- Egalet Corporation increased the price of Sprix 500 percent after buying it from Luitpold Pharmaceuticals. Its investor materials reported that Sprix’ wholesale price went “from $185 to $942 for one box of five bottles.”
- After selling a majority share of Alvogen to Pamplona Capital Management, Macrodantin, Alvogen’s treatment for urinary tract infections, climbed 48 percent.
- The price of Dutoprol, a blood pressure drug, rose 1000 percent after a company owned by the private-equity firm, Cerberus, bought it from AstraZeneca.