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      Drug makers have tripled the prices of top Medicare drugs / ArsTechnica · Tuesday, 15 August, 2023 - 13:49

    Hundred dollar bills inside prescription pill bottles

    Enlarge (credit: Getty | Bill Diodato )

    The top 25 costliest drugs for Medicare Part D plans earned their lofty rankings largely through exorbitant price hikes—increases that, on average, more than tripled their list prices since they entered the market, according to a new analysis by AARP .

    For nearly all the drugs, the price hikes far outstripped the rate of inflation, with increases ranging from 20 percent to 739 percent during the drugs' lifetimes on the market. Only one of the top 25 drugs—Trelegy Ellipta, an inhaler for asthma and chronic lung conditions—had price increases that were below the rate of inflation during its time on the market. Since its initial release in 2017, Trelegy Ellipta's price increased only 20 percent, compared with a general inflation rate of 23 percent.

    Overall, the average lifetime price increase for the top 25 drugs was 226 percent. The highest increases were seen in drugs that have been on the market the longest. For example, drugs that were on the market for under 12 years had an average lifetime price increase of 58 percent, while those on the market for 20 or more years had an average lifetime increase of 592 percent.

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      Moderna CEO brazenly defends 400% COVID shot price hike, downplays NIH’s role / ArsTechnica · Wednesday, 22 March, 2023 - 21:42 · 1 minute

    Moderna CEO Stephane Bancel testifies before the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee in the Hart Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill on March 22 in Washington, DC.

    Enlarge / Moderna CEO Stephane Bancel testifies before the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee in the Hart Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill on March 22 in Washington, DC. (credit: Getty | Chip Somodevilla)

    In Congressional testimony Wednesday, Moderna CEO Stéphane Bancel unabashedly defended the company's plans to raise the US list price of its COVID-19 vaccines by more than 400 percent—despite creating the vaccine in partnership with the National Institutes of Health, receiving $1.7 billion in federal grant money for clinical development, and making roughly $36 billion from worldwide sales.

    Bancel appeared this morning before the Senate's Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions committee, chaired by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), who has long railed at the pharmaceutical price gouging in the US and pushed from policy reforms. After thanking Bancel for agreeing to testify, Sanders didn't pull any punches. He accused Moderna of "profiteering" and sharing in the "unprecedented level of corporate greed" seen in the pharmaceutical industry generally.

    Sanders contrasted a recent survey finding that 37 percent of Americans can't afford their prescription drugs to the billions of dollars in profits reaped by drug companies. He noted several times that Bancel became a billionaire overnight amid the pandemic. Bancel is now estimated to be worth over $4 billion, Sanders added.

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      California considers state-brand drugs to fight “greedy pharmaceutical companies”

      Beth Mole · / ArsTechnica · Friday, 10 January, 2020 - 16:45

    A close up of Newsom

    Enlarge / California Governor Gavin Newsom. (credit: Getty | AGUSTIN PAULLIER )

    California could become the first state to introduce its own brand of generic prescription drugs in an effort to drag down stratospheric healthcare costs.

    The plan for state-branded drugs is part of California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s budget proposal, which he is expected to unveil Friday, January 10.

    “A trip to the doctor’s office, pharmacy or hospital shouldn’t cost a month’s pay,” Newsom said in a statement. “The cost of healthcare is just too damn high, and California is fighting back.”

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