Drugmakers Raised Drug Prices Throughout COVID-19 Pandemic, Analysis Finds

July 2, 2020

Drugmakers have continued to hike their drug prices during the COVID-19 crisis, increasing prices on average 23.8 percent for 245 drugs, many of which are used in COVID-19 treatments or research.

According to Patients for Affordable Drugs,  the report also found that drugs currently in COVID-19 trials have increased in price. For example, McGuff Pharmaceuticals, the only manufacturer of Ascor (ascorbic acid injection), or intravenous vitamin C, hiked its price by 110 percent, and Fresenius Kabi increased the price of oxytocin, a hormone being studied in phase 2 trials for treatment of COVID-19, by 57 percent.

The industry has increased prices for 20 essential intensive care unit medicines during the pandemic, according to the report. For example, Hikma Pharmaceuticals hiked the price of its morphine injection Duramorph by 59 percent, the group said.

The patient advocacy group tracked prescription and over-the-counter drugs that saw increases in their wholesale acquisition cost (WAC) — the list price for wholesalers — between Jan. 20 and June 20.

Hikma Pharmaceuticials said it informed customers of the price increase in January, before the pandemic took hold in the United States, adding that the increase was needed to cover increased costs for raw materials, production, distribution, and new fees and taxes some states have imposed on opioid-based medications. he prices on more than 90 percent of our medicines stay the same or are reduced each year,” a Hikma spokesperson said.

McGuff Pharmaceuticals said the reported price hike was incorrect and that the average price increase for Ascor was 19.04 percent.

Fresenius Kabi did not respond to a request for comment.

Read the full report here: www.fdanews.com/06-30-20-RaisingPrices.pdf. — James Miessler