Drugmakers raise prices amid shortages, recalls

Drug manufacturers have sharply increased prices of some older, low-cost prescription medicines amid supply shortages and recalls. For example, at least three sellers of the widely used blood-pressure medication valsartan have raised prices since a series of safety-related recalls of the drug by other manufacturers began in the summer of 2018.

Drug manufacturers have sharply increased prices of some older, low-cost prescription medicines amid supply shortages and recalls. For example, at least three sellers of the widely used blood-pressure medication valsartan have raised prices since a series of safety-related recalls of the drug by other manufacturers began in the summer of 2018. Of the nearly 120 drugs listed by FDA as currently or recently in shortage, about one-third had price increases after the shortages started, according to a review of pricing data provided by RELX Group’s Elsevier health information unit. The increases can mean higher costs for pharmacies and patients on what are generally cheaper generic drugs. Drugmakers say the increased prices reflect higher costs they have incurred to help fill supply voids that have become relatively common in recent years. When shortages arise, health regulators such as FDA sometimes ask other suppliers to boost production. A study published last year in the journal Value in Health found that average prices rose about 14% for drugs in shortages lasting at least 18 months and 6% during shortages of less than 6 months.