Pharma Hikes Cost of 866 Drugs While Lobbying to Kill Build Back Better

Major pharmaceutical companies in the U.S. hiked the prices of nearly 870 prescription medications during the first month of the new year as lock-step Republicans and right-wing Democrats — flush with cash from drugmakers — continue to block legislation aimed at reining in the industry.

Rx Savings Solutions released an analysis Sunday showing that drugmakers increased the cost of 866 products in the U.S. between January 20th and February 20th by an average 6.6%.

“OverThe same period last year, drugmakers raised prices by an average of 4.5% on 893 drugs,” observed the Wall Street JournalThe original report was published by.

“There were some large price increases. AmerisourceBergen Corp.’s Blue Point Laboratories, a seller of generic drugs, more than doubled the price of the cancer chemotherapy drug cisplatin to $30,” the Journal noted. Exelan Pharmaceuticals Inc. raised the price of its generic lisinopril to treat high blood pressure by 536% to a range of $6.17 to $549.85, depending on the dosage and package size.”

The latest data on Big Pharma’s 2022 price hikes drew the attention of members of Congress who are working — in the face of a record-shattering industry lobbying blitz — to pass legislation to curb sky-high drug costs, a problem that’s far worseThe U.S. is more wealthy than other countries.

“There is something profoundly wrong in America when a company like Exelan can raise the price of a generic drug to treat high blood pressure (lisinopril) by 536% to as much as $550,” saidSen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Chair of the Senate Budget Committee. “How many more Americans have to die and suffer before Congress has the guts to end this greed?”

Frank Pallone (D.N.J.), the House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman, is pictured here. tweeted that “outrageously high prescription drug prices are now even higher as Big Pharma continues its practice of raising prices in January.”

Democrats’ stalled Build Back Better Act containsProvisions that would allow Medicare, which is already allowed to negotiate directly with pharmaceutical companies, to price a subset drug. currently prohibitedFederal law prohibits you from doing so.

The House-passed version would also penalize drug companies who raise prices faster that the rate inflation.

For months, pharmaceutical lobbyists — which outnumber members of Congress on Capitol Hill by a ratio of three to one — have worked aggressively to water down or sink Democrats’ legislation, pouring money into the campaign coffers of friendly lawmakers and spending millions on falsehood-riddledAdvertising against the Build back Better package, and specifically the Medicare provisions.

The industry’s influence-peddling appeared to have an impact, as a group of Democratic lawmakers in the House threatenedIn late 2021, to stop the Build Back Better Act from being enacted over the Medicare price negotiation push. The Democratic leadership eventually settled on a compromise planReps. Scott Peters (D.Calif.), Kurt Schrader, and Kathleen Rice (D.N.Y.) favored the major industry-backed holdouts.

Sens. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) is also obstructing more ambitious action to tackle drug prices, which pharmaceutical companies have raised “with abandon” in recent years, according to a recent investigationby the House Committee on Oversight and Reform.

Kaiser Health News reported in October that as congressional Democrats worked throughout 2021 to craft a drug-price reform plan — aiming to fulfill one of their longstanding campaign promises — the pharmaceutical industry delivered cash to “key lawmakers with surgical precision.”

“Rep. Scott Peters (D-Calif.) received the most money of any member of Congress, with $63,900 in contributions in the first half of the year,” the outlet found. “Next in line was Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), who accepted $49,300, the most of any senator this year despite not facing reelection until 2024.”

Democrats’ efforts to cap insulin costsThe U.S. pharmaceutical industry was also fiercely opposed. As STAT reported last week, “Insulin giants Eli Lilly and Novo Nordisk boosted their lobbying spending as Democrats eyed pricing reform.”

In a recent statement demanding passage of the Build Back Better Act by March 1 at the latest, Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) pointed to soaring medicine costs as one of the reasons “the case for this legislation has only become more urgent.”

“Public housing residents have endured devastating fires, the cost of insulin and other prescription drugs continue to crush working people, and parents are desperate for child care support,” said Jayapal. “This desperately needed relief cannot be delayed any longer.”