By: Robert Langreth, Michael Keller and Christopher Cannon
Health insurance companies buy prescription drugs the way U.S. consumers buy cars: There’s the sticker price (which few people actually pay) and there’s the negotiated price.
The pharmaceutical industry has long said that list prices aren’t a reliable indicator of what Americans pay for prescription drugs because big customers, including health insurers and pharmacy benefit managers, negotiate discounts.
But a Bloomberg analysis of 39 medicines with global sales of more than $1 billion a year showed that 30 of them logged price increases of more than double the rate of inflation from 2009 to 2015, even after estimated discounts were factored in.
Only six drugs had price increases in line with or below inflation.