Yesterday, multiple news outlets featured data from Rx Savings Solutions on medicine price trends. These data reflect list price increases, ignoring the significant rebates and discounts on medicines. When sources account for these rebates and discounts, the data overwhelming conclude net prices are growing at the slowest rate in years. Here are three things you should know about the analysis:
- On average, 40% of a brand medicine's list price is given as a rebate or discount to the government, insurers and middlemen like pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs). But the study did not consider these net prices and instead focused solely on list prices.
- The analysis looked at all generic and brand medicines on the market and failed to account for how often these medicines are used – if at all. This major limitation means that medicines used by tens of thousands of patients were treated the same as medicines with no sales.
- A recent IQVIA report addressed this limitation by relying on actual sales data to ensure the medicines responsible for the most spending are accurately reflected in pricing data. Using this method, IQVIA found that among brand medicines without a generic equivalent, net prices increased just 0.3% in 2018 – less than the rate of inflation for the second year in a row.
These are three key reasons why this analysis is misleading. To learn more, visit www.LetsTalkAboutCost.org.