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Invited Commentary
January 22, 2019

Tepid Steps on Drug Pricing

Author Affiliations
  • 1Program On Regulation, Therapeutics, And Law (PORTAL), Division of Pharmacoepidemiology and Pharmacoeconomics, Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts
JAMA Intern Med. 2019;179(3):439-441. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2018.6593

Almost 2 years have passed since then President-elect Trump charged that prescription drug manufacturers were “getting away with murder.” Yet little on the drug pricing landscape has changed. Although several brand-name manufacturers have touted their recent restraint on raising existing drug prices, their actions have largely constituted token gestures. In July 2018, for example, Roche pledged not to raise its prices for the remainder of the year, but only after having marked up many products; by contrast, Merck cut some prices, but only on drugs totaling 0.1% of its revenue.1 Of the top 10 selling brand-name drugs in 2017 worldwide, 8 have increased a mean of 7.8% in wholesale acquisition cost since late 2017 (Table).

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