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New Drug Prices Soar to $180,000 a Year on 20% Annual Inflation

  • Harvard study finds huge rise in drug launch prices since 2008
  • More than 47% of new drugs now cost $150,000 or more annually

While gasoline and food prices soar, few products rival the inflation in prices on newly launched prescription drugs, according to a new study.

The median launch price of a new drug in the US soared from $2,115 in 2008 to $180,007 in 2021, a 20% annual inflation rate over the period, researchers at Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston found. Even after adjusting for factors such as drugmakers’ focus on expensive disease categories like cancer and estimated discounts that manufacturers give some purchasers, the annual inflation rate in launch prices over the period was still almost 11%.