In August, the FDA approved a drug called Repatha that lowers cholesterol. This drug is a true innovation that may benefit millions of Americans, but it comes with a steep price tag of $14,100 a year — double its price in Europe. And according to the FDA, Repatha's impact on heart attacks and stroke is still being studied.
Then there's Farydak, a new blood cancer drug, which the FDA approved against the initial recommendation of its independent experts. According to the FDA, Farydak slows the progression of the disease by only five months, and it comes with severe side effects. The cost? Nearly $10,000 a month.
Prices for drugs like these are part of an alarming trend; last year, the cost of prescription drugs increased 13.6 percent for a family of four that has health insurance from an employer, according to the Milliman Medical Index. This spike is fueling a rise in health-care spending and premiums for both private insurance and Medicare. Rising drug costs are straining state and federal budgets and the pocketbooks of middle-class families. Worse, they're making drugs unaffordable for the patients who need them.