1. Data & Insights

Warped Incentives Update: The Gross-to-Net Bubble Exceeded $200 Billion in 2021 (rerun)

This week, I’m rerunning some popular posts while I prepare for this Friday’s live video webinar: Specialty Drugs Update: Trends, Controversies, and Outlook .

ICYMI, the unimplemented rule to reform rebates in Medicare Part D remains the ultimate budget gimmick. More than $122 billion in “savings” (offsets) from the current drug pricing reconciliation legislation comes from blocking rebate reform—which never even happened.

Click here to see the original post from March 2022.

Time for Drug Channels Institute’s annual update on the gross-to-net bubble—the ever-growing dollar gap between sales at brand-name drugs’ list prices and their sales at net prices after rebates and other reductions.

We estimate that the gross-to-net bubble reached $204 billion for patent-protected brand-name drugs in 2021. If we include brand-name drugs that have lost patent protection and face competition from generic equivalents, the bubble was even higher, at $236 billion.

Pharmaceuticals are the only part of the U.S. healthcare system in which the difference between list and net prices is monetized as rebates and redistributed via intermediaries to payers. This bubble reflects—and drives—both patients’ affordability problems, intermediaries’ warped incentives, and politicians’ misunderstandings of U.S. drug prices.

Read on for our latest data—and a reminder why SpongeBob SquarePants remains a fixture on Drug Channels. Read more »

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