Press Releases

New Report by Rep. Katie Porter Exposes Big Pharma’s Launch Price Abuse

Congresswoman calls for additional patient and taxpayer protections to maximize drug pricing reforms

WASHINGTON—Congresswoman Katie Porter (D-CA) today released a report documenting how Big Pharma has set prices for new drugs higher and higher to line its pockets. The report, “Skyrocketing: How Big Pharma Exploits Launch Prices to Cash in on Cancer,” analyzes pricing and spending data to expose how the prices of newly launched cancer drugs put patients and taxpayers at risk.

“Our report is clear: the prices Big Pharma sets for new cures show that these companies think of cancer more like a business opportunity than a life-threatening disease,”  said Porter, a longtime consumer protection attorney. “For Congress to maximize the Inflation Reduction Act’s protections for patients and taxpayers, we must double down on fighting corporate abuse in drug pricing. Our office’s new report lays a framework for future reforms to address another major driver of high pharmaceutical costs: increasing launch prices for new drugs.”

Read the report: Skyrocketing: How Big Pharma Exploits Launch Prices to Cash in on Cancer.

Using the example of cancer drugs, Congresswoman Porter’s report found that:

  • Cancer drug launch prices are soaring. From 2017 to 2021, the average inflation-adjusted launch price for self-administered cancer drugs—the types of medications typically prescribed under Medicare Part D—have risen by over 25% to over $235,000 per year. When this analysis is expanded to include certain other cancer drugs, like those administered as infusions, the data show that the average launch price increased by 53% to $283,000 per year. 
  • High launch prices disproportionately harm seniors, the uninsured, and the underinsured. Analyzing Medicare spending data, Congresswoman Porter’s report reveals that soaring launch prices push up taxpayer spending for high-priced cancer medications, which cost taxpayers millions of dollars and disproportionately harm patients who are uninsured, underinsured, or on Medicare. 
  • Addressing soaring drug launch prices will maximize the Inflation Reduction Act’s patient protections and taxpayer savings. Congresswoman Porter’s report demonstrates how the IRA will help patients afford the drugs they need, showing how the law’s out-of-pocket spending cap could save certain cancer patients more than $10,000 per year on high-priced drugs. As the Biden Administration implements this transformative legislation to protect patients and taxpayers from Big Pharma’s greed, Porter’s report calls for additional action to maximize the law’s benefits and address the next frontier of skyrocketing drug pricing—launch prices.

Congresswoman Porter has tirelessly fought to hold Big Pharma accountable on behalf of patients. A version of her proposal to hold Big Pharma accountable for unreasonable price hikes became law as part of the Inflation Reduction Act. As a member of the Oversight Committee, she has confronted Big Pharma CEOs directly about the skyrocketing costs of prescription drugs. Porter has called for investigations into industry influence over drug approvals, including for high-priced drugs brought to market under the accelerated approval pathway.

Read the full report HERE.