Rome et al analyse the costs of newly-launched pharmaceuticals in the US. They discover that the median average launch price of a drug has increased from just over $2,000 per year in 2018 up to $180,000 in 2021. Almost half of drugs launched in 2020-2021 cost over $150,000 a year.

The mean average price increased exponentially during this period by around 20% per year. Some of this may be explained by differences in the characteristics of the drugs launched in each year; oncology drugs and those for rare diseases tend to be more expensive. But even with that taken into account as best as the researchers could do, there remained an exponential increase in annual cost of around 13% per year.

This is clearly unsustainable for anyone who is in the position of actually having to pay for these treatments. The researchers suggest that in line with some other similar countries “the US could stop allowing drug manufacturers to freely set prices”, which would seem to me to be an obvious and decent first step.