E-DRUG: United States Congress Investigates Drug Price Increases for Generic
The United States Congress is investigating the staggering price increase
of certain generic drugs. According to data provided the price of one
commonly used antibiotic doxycycline [in USA] has jumped from US$ 20.00 (bottle
500 tablets of 100mg strength) in October 2013 to US$ 1849.00 in April
2014. According to the letter to the drug companies, generic drugs play a
major role in the U.S., accounting for about 29% of the pharmaceutical
spending and 86% of dispensing. The results of this investigation is
likely to result in increased public debate on this topic and strategies to
reduce drug prices. I thought this topic may be of interest to all parties
in this forum especially those who are working on access to medicines and
Oct 2, 2014
Letters to 14 Manufacturers Seek Information on Recent Price Hikes
Washington, D.C. Today, Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, Ranking Member of the
House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, and Senator Bernard
Sanders, Chairman of the Subcommittee on Primary Health and Aging, Senate
Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, sent letters to 14 drug
manufacturers requesting information about the escalating prices they have
been charging for generic drugs.
Cummings and Sanders are investigating price increases for drugs used to
treat everything from common medical conditions to life-threatening
illnesses and to identify measures to help reduce costs for patients,
healthcare providers, and hospitals across the country.
'When you see how much the prices of these drugs have increased just over
the past year, it's staggering, and we want to know why,'� said Cummings. 'I
am very pleased that Chairman Sanders has joined me in this bicameral
investigation because in some cases these outrageous price hikes are
preventing patients from getting the drugs they need.'
'It is unacceptable that Americans pay, by far, the highest prices in the
world for prescription drugs,' Sanders said. 'Generic drugs were meant to
help make medications affordable for the millions of Americans who rely on
prescriptions to manage their health needs. We've got to get to the bottom
of these enormous price increases.'�
In their letters, Cummings and Sanders cited data from the Healthcare
Supply Chain Association on recent purchases of 10 generic drugs by group
purchasing organizations over the past two years. For example:
- Albuterol Sulfate, used to treat asthma and other lung conditions,
increased 4,014% for a bottle of 100 2 mg tablets.
- Doxycycline Hyclate, an antibiotic used to treat a variety of
infections, increased 8,281% for a bottle of 500 100 mg tablets.
- Glycopyrrolate, used to prevent irregular heartbeats during surgery,
increased 2,728% for a box of 10 0.2 mg/mL, 20 mL vials.
a table of price increases for the ten drugs examined.
The Members also explained that these dramatic price increases result in
decreased access for patients and increased costs to American taxpayers.
A *survey <https://www.ncpanet.org/pdf/leg/jan14/letter-generic-spikes.pdf>* by
the National Community Pharmacists Association found that 77% of
pharmacists reported 26 or more instances over the past six months of a
large upswing in a generic drug's acquisition price, and pharmacists also
reported that patients are 'declining their medication due to increased
According to a *report
the IMS Institute for Health Informatics, generic drugs now account for 29
percent of pharmaceutical spending and 86 percent of drugs dispensed in the
The Members requested that the companies provide information from 2012 to
the present, including total gross revenues from sales of the drugs, prices
paid for the drugs, factors that contributed to decisions to increase
prices, and the identity of company officials responsible for setting drug
Letters to the 14 drug manufactures are linked below:
*Dr. Reddy's Laboratories Ltd.
*Endo International plc
*Heritage Pharmaceuticals Inc.
*Lannett Company, Inc.
*Marathon Pharmaceuticals, LLC
*PAR Pharmaceutical Companies Inc.
*Sun Pharmaceutical Industries, Inc.
*Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd.
*West-Ward Pharmaceutical Corp.
*Zydus Pharmaceuticals USA Inc.
Syed Rizwanuddin Ahmad, MD, MPH, FISPE, FCP
Consultant with Special Interest to Strengthen National Medicines
Regulatory Authorities in Resource-limited Countries
Formerly (1998-2013) with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration
Assistant Professor (adjunct), Georgetown University School of Medicine,
Washington, DC, USA