Summary of Decoding Big Pharma’s Secret Drug Pricing Practices


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Decoding Big Pharma’s Secret Drug Pricing Practices summary
List prices for name-brand drugs continue to rise, but how does this increase track with inflation?


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Given that the list prices for brand-name medications don’t reflect the negotiated prices insurers pay drug manufacturers, how can Americans get a true sense of the cost increases of drugs over time? Bloomberg reporters Robert Langreth, Michael Keller and Christopher Cannon attempt to answer this question via statistical analysis of drug price increases between 2009 and 2015. In the course of their research, the authors examine the degree to which price increases track with discounts and inflation. getAbstract recommends their findings to consumers and those working in the health care industry.

In this summary, you will learn

  • How drug prices between 2009 and 2015 track with inflation,
  • Why certain drugs command greater discounts, and
  • Why certain drugs show decreased discount rates over time.


Drug manufacturers raise the prices of their brand-name products year after year. That said, most Americans understand that the list prices for name-brand drugs can differ vastly from the adjusted prices which health care providers negotiate. Given the disparity between list prices and paid prices – and pharmaceutical companies’ reluctance to make the details of their pricing practices public – how can you calculate the actual cost of brand-name drugs over time?

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About the Authors

Robert Langreth is a science and health reporter, Michael Keller is an interactive news reporter, and Christopher Cannon is a data journalist and graphic designer for Bloomberg. 

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