Feb. 21, 2023
New prescription drug price transparency dashboard, report show high and varied prices
Governor’s proposal seeks to improve transparency, data quality for future work
More than 3 million Minnesotans – seven out of 10 adults in the state – used one or more prescription drugs in 2021, according to an analysis by the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH). But with many drug prices growing much faster than the rate of inflation, there is an increasing risk of people rationing needed medications or skipping them altogether.
The first-of-its-kind data release for Minnesota was issued today by MDH as part of the implementation of the Minnesota Prescription Drug Price Transparency (RxPT) initiative. It gives Minnesotans new insight into how much drug prices increased in 2022 and at what prices new drugs came to the market. These detailed data are available in several interactive dashboards, giving Minnesota policymakers and payers additional information to begin addressing high drug prices.
The Prescription Drug Price Transparency Report along with the Prescription Drug Price Transparency dashboards is available on the MDH Prescription Drug Price Transparency webpage. Among the report findings, the data reveal that list prices for many prescription drugs are growing significantly faster than the rate of inflation. For the drugs with the fastest growing prices subject to Minnesota reporting, list prices rose on average 41.6% from 2017 to 2022.
While some drugs in the market faced competition, many were still able to demand hefty price increases. This raises questions about whether market forces for certain products are keeping costs in check. Prices for new drugs were high and vary wildly, according to the data. For example, list prices for new drugs introduced in 2022 to treat cancer ranged from about $1,400 (Paclitaxel Protein-Bound Particles, a generic drug) to more than $465,000 (Ciltacabtagene Autoleucel, a brand name drug under patent protection).
“Being able to afford your health care – including needed medications - is a critical aspect of well-being and peace of mind,” said Minnesota Commissioner of Health Dr. Brooke Cunningham. “This is a need regardless of where you live in Minnesota and what coverage you have. The data indicate some worrisome patterns of price inflation, and it is important to sharpen our focus on transparency and policy solutions.”
The Prescription Drug Price Transparency dashboards and the accompanying report provide insights into the cost trends of prescription drugs in Minnesota. Under this legislative initiative, MDH collected and analyzed data from more than 200 manufacturers covering nearly 700 drugs. However, there is still a lot of work ahead. The report highlights several opportunities for future improvement, including in the quality of data submitted by manufacturers, the use of “trade secret” designations to shield relevant information from public scrutiny, and broadening the type and number of drugs about which data is collected.
To address these challenges, Governor Walz and Lieutenant Governor Flanagan have proposed reinforcing the Minnesota Price Transparency Act by gathering additional information about what influences net costs. The proposal also recommends collecting data on how prices evolve across the pharmaceutical supply chain, looking beyond manufacturers to the role of wholesalers, pharmacy benefit managers and pharmacies.
“These data will help us understand how prices are impacted throughout the supply chain and whether discounts are ultimately passed on to consumers,” said MDH State Health Economist Stefan Gildemeister. “That will give legislators actionable evidence to improve affordability of prescription drugs.”