Charts, Bruh: Drug Price Wildin’ Out

Peep this chart, bruh: 

Top Selling Drugs.png


I’m sure by now you’ve either heard or read something regarding the issue of skyrocketing prescription drug prices in America. In case you are on that strict “Keeping Up With The Kardashians”/ Jezebel / “The Bachelor” / Buzzfeed diet, here’s a hastily prepared primer on drug price increases:

  1. Major drug companies have been increasing drug prices over the past 5 years. In some cases, these price increases have been slow and steady. In others, including many of the most recent instances, drug prices have been growing exponentially at unprecedented rates.
  2. Believe it or not, this issue has nothing to do with Obamacare. The Affordable Care Act’s issues revolve around increased deductibles and the loss of insurance carriers.
  3. The increase in the volume and size of drug prices as of late is directly tied to acquisitions in the healthcare industry. Basically, rather than spend an unpredictable amount of money on R&D (research and development) for potentially unsuccessful products, large corporations are buying up smaller companies in order to sell “new” drugs while simultaneously jacking up the prices.
  4. The growing issue of dramatically increased drug prices was shoved into the national spotlight following the activities/scandals revolving around drug firms like Valeant and Turing (Turing is the company that superstar-douchebag Martin Shkreli previously controlled).
  5. Following the very visible scandals revolving around Valeant and Turing, Congress has finally stepped up and declared they’ll take action (or at least they’re pretending?).
  6. Congress has gone as far to hold a hearing with major prescription drug executives in order to discuss the price increases and underlying rationales.

Martin Shkreli Arrested.jpg


So yeah… shit is starting to pop off. 

Back to the chart:

The top-10 highest selling prescription drugs have increased between a range of 54.4% to 126.4% over the past five years. 4 of the top-10 most sold drugs have had price increases of over 100%. That’s absolutely bonkers. The main culprits of these ridiculously extreme price increases are used to treat arthritis (TOP-3 BIGGEST INCREASES!) and high cholesterol, among other things.

While I didn’t underestimate or actively ignore the issue of increased prescription drug prices, my previous thoughts on the issue were re-calibrated after looking at this chart. My understanding was that while average drug prices have increased significantly over the past 5-10 years, I thought this was mainly due to random, unique, high-end, expensive drugs that have increased. I didn’t think it would be the the 10 highest selling drugs in the entire industry.

Then again…… I have a sneaking suspicion that it’s not a coincidence that I’ve seen a shitload of commercials for a few of these drugs on TV. I mean, what’s the point of unethically jacking up prices like total douchebags if you aren’t going to market the fuck out of the product



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