Why are drug prices still going up just as fast?

The President has made good on a number of campaign promises already since taking office, but there’s one subject he hit fairly often on the campaign trail which seems to be strangely resistant. He made a big point of insisting that we need to bring down the price of prescription drugs. Perhaps we’re about to see some movement on that front, as just this week he promised to roll out some new action within the month.

Let’s hope it works because drug prices are still going up at an alarming rate. This report from Axios highlights some of the big names in Big Pharma which are draining the wallets of patients every day.

The drugs to watch: High-cost, high-use prescriptions like Humira, Enbrel and Revlimid. AbbVie hiked the price of Humira, the highest-selling drug in the world, by 19% over the 14-month period, and Amgen did the same for Enbrel. Celgene raised the list price of Revlimid by 20%.

The big one: SynerDerm, a prescription skin cream, had the largest price hike. Phlight Pharma, the maker of SynerDerm, raised the list price by 1,468% over the past 14 months.

The runners-up: A total of 39 drugs saw price hikes of at least 100%, although many of them — like anti-venom extracts — are rarely used and don’t cost the health care system much overall.

Those are significant increases and they show no signs of slowing. Hopefully, the White House has something up their sleeve on that score. One item they might look into is ensuring that rural price control programs such as 340B aren’t eliminated. We talked about that program last year and how it helps control costs for patients in more rural, underserved areas.

There’s a lot of lobbyist money going into efforts to eliminate 340B. That effort has led Congressman Larry Bucshon, M.D. (IN-08) and Scott Peters (CA-52) to introduce legislation to keep the program in place and hold prices down for rural consumers. While the President is pondering the details of his new plan, throwing his support behind that legislation might be a good starting point.