Drug prices decrease or rise only slightly, says congressional commission

According to a report released on Tuesday by Congress’s own Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC), prices decreased for 11 of the 20 pharmaceuticals for which Medicare Part B spent the most money and which would be subject to price restrictions under the Senate’s proposal, Good Day BIO reports.

More drugs in the top 20 (11) have experienced more price decreases than increases between the first quarters of 2021 and 2022, found the report.

“Between the first quarters of 2021 and 2022,” the report says, “none of the nine products with price increases experienced increases greater than inflation.”

The Senate has proposed allowing the federal government to determine the prices of the pharmaceuticals for which Medicare spends the most under the most recent drug pricing proposal. This would start with the top 10 drugs in 2026, and include the top 20 drugs in 2029.

According to a fact sheet published by Senate HELP Committee Ranking Member Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC), some of the prices that decreased were “among biologics facing biosimilar competition,” showed the MedPAC report. However, the Senate’s plan discourages biosimilars by removing incentives to invest the $100-$200 million necessary to bring one to market (R-NC).

Drug development is already risky, says the fact sheet:

  • On average, it takes 10.5 years from research to approval for investors to realize a return.
  • Manufacturers pay $474 million in pre-clinical expenses per approval.
  • Nine of ten drugs going to clinical trial ultimately fail.
  • Drug development costs average nearly $1.4 billion

“Government price-setting would curb investments in drug development—leading to fewer novel medicines reaching patients,” the fact sheet states.

“The legislation…would dismantle our innovation engine and our global competitiveness, leaving Americans dependent on overseas innovators,” BIO President and CEO Dr. Michelle McMurry-Heath has said.

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