Prescription Drug Prices in 2022: What We Can Expect Moving Forward
Affordability is always a very relative term, but the fact that ever-greater numbers of Americans cannot afford prescription drug prices without making sacrifices elsewhere isn’t up for debate. It is entirely true, and it is a growing problem that still hasn’t been sufficiently addressed by lawmakers in Washington. There are ongoing efforts to allow Medicare more leverage when negotiating with drug manufacturers for better wholesale pricing, but this summer will be 2 years since the White House Executive Order aimed to give Americans better access to affordable medications. Not much progress has been made.
The problem is made even more acute because many people with chronic long-term health conditions have no choice but to pay pharmacy drug prices. Those without insurance must assume the entirety of the costs out-of-pocket, and pharma industry experts are saying that rising OOP costs are the result of increasing insurance deductibles, copayments, and coinsurance. One potential fix that is being put out there is the idea that insurance companies share rebates and discounts with consumers at the pharmacy counter and having coupons provided by manufacturers reducing patient deductibles they need to pay.
To be fair though, it isn’t so simple to just implement that and move forward. Drug prices are estimated to make up about 15% of health care costs in the USA, and industry experts are quick to say that the pharmaceutical manufacturers must recoup the extremely large amounts of money spent on pharma R&D (research and development) to produce these drugs with the efficacy and safety people expect from them.
It’s a complicated matter, but what can the average person expect for prescription drug prices in 2022 and moving forward? That’s what we’re going to look at here.
Near 8% Average Price Increases for Many Meds
The basic answer to the question is that many drugs are going up in price again this year. At the end of last month (January), 852 different prescription drugs had price increases averaging 8.1%, and the dollar value for that has people needing these drugs paying a little less than $49 more for them. It is true that many of these drugs are specialty medications, and it is nearly impossible to have a specialty medication not be expensive. For reference, medication prices tend to go up an average of around 5% per year so an 8% rise in prescription drug prices for that many of them is significant.
Price increases in the vicinity of 5% will be the norm for most medications though, although the same industry experts are saying that the end-user pharmacy drug prices for generic drugs should remain at the same average prices they were at last year, with only a few of them having a minor increase. Ordering generic drugs from Canada is one way that Americans have been able to save money on prescription medication and improving access to medication from Canada was a key part of the Executive Order from July 2020 we talked about earlier.
Fortunately there are Canadian pharmacies already set up to serve US customers, and the advantages of ordering medication online from Canada are extensive and something any continental US resident can get for themselves very easily once they sign up for an account. Often the prescription drug prices paid are still way lower than what these people would pay at their local pharmacy and even when you factor in shipping the medication to the customer’s home in the USA.
NJ / CT Leading Push for Lower Prescription Drug Prices
There are many issues that require the attention of lawmakers in the US these days but lowering prescription drug prices so that people can take their medication as directed by their doctor has to be one of them that is at the forefront. As we said earlier, change is showing itself to be slow to come around at the federal level in the USA, but there are pushes being made at the state level to better rein in prescription drugs prices.
The State Governors in both Connecticut and New Jersey are both trying to cap drug prices so that residents there have more affordable Rx medication. Governor Lamont in CT is suggesting that drug prices be held to the rate of inflation plus 2%, while Governor Murphy in NJ is suggesting 3 different bills that would cap prices on emergency drugs, investigate drug pricing more thoroughly, and require oversight of pharmacy benefits managers in the State.
All this occurs at a time when prescription drug prices are going up for Medicare recipients too. This applies to Medicare Part D users who pay their average monthly premium as a means of paying less for medication. The monthly premium for Medicare Part D went up on January 1st this year, and that will mean prescription drug prices are also going to be higher for people who are part of the Federal prescription drug benefit plan. Estimates are 1/5th of Americans are enrolled in Medicare.
The maximum deductible for Medicare Part D coverage for 2022 is now $480, and that is a 7.8% increase from last year. The unfortunate reality is that prescription drug prices are going up in 2022, and that efforts to bring them down likely won’t be effective on the large scale anytime this year. For all these reasons and more it continues to make sense to order prescription drugs from Canada.
IMPORTANT NOTE: The above information is intended to increase awareness of health information and does not suggest treatment or diagnosis. This information is not a substitute for individual medical attention and should not be construed to indicate that use of the drug is safe, appropriate, or effective for you. See your health care professional for medical advice and treatment.