Profits and Pills: The Most Expensive Drugs Quiz

Staff

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About This Quiz

Dramatic and sometimes overnight price increases on prescription medications reflect high costs of research and the benefits of new promising cures. How bad could it be? Test how much you know about the medicines that cost way more than others.

Which ex-pharmaceutical CEO raised the retail price of the anti-malarial Daraprim by 5,000 percent shortly after his company bought the drug?

That was Shkreli, founder and now former CEO of Turing Pharmaceuticals.

Of the 28 new drugs approved by the Food and Drug Administration in 2013, how many were considered specialty products?

Of the 28 drugs approved in 2013, 19 were specialty drugs.

What's the estimate of how much people in the U.S. will spend on specialty drugs by 2020?

It's estimated that specialty drug prices will more than quadruple, bringing it to about $400 billion.

Who typically sets the sticker price for a new prescription medication?

The drug manufacturers will typically set the price.

How many of the 12 new cancer-fighting drugs approved in 2012 retailed above $100,000 for a year's treatment?

Nearly all — 11 of the 12 newly approved cancer meds were priced higher than $100,000 annually.

How much does Soliris, the most expensive prescription drug in the U.S. in 2016, cost?

Soliris comes with a price tag of at least $400,000 a year, making it the most expensive drug in the U.S.

How much was the price increase of the anti-rheumatic drug Cuprimine in 2015 alone?

The cost of Cuprimine, which was not a new drug in 2015, rose by more than 400 percent.

How much does a typical American retiree spend on a monthly refill of common prescription respiratory meds?

A typical American senior spends $139 for each refill of meds like albuterol and Advair.

Where would you fill a prescription for specialty drugs?

Specialty drugs that are taken orally, by injection or by infusion are filled at a specialty pharmacy.

How much higher is the price of cancer treatment in the U.S. compared to the U.K.?

The median monthly price is more than three times higher in the U.S.: about $8,700 in the U.S., compared to about $2,600 in the U.K. Generics are also more expensive in the U.S.

True or false: The typical 12-week treatment regimen of Sovaldi, which has shown a 90 percent hepatitis C cure rate, comes with a potential price tag of $84,000.

A standard 12-week regimen of Sovaldi can cost as much as $84,000. The hepatitis C virus infects than 3 million Americans.

Which former pharmaceutical CEO convicted of fraud in April 2016 is also actor Vince Vaughn's stepfather?

Immunosyn Corp.'s former CEO Stephen Ferrone was found guilty of fraud for improper marketing of a new drug derived from goat blood.

True or false: The average annual retail cost of specialty drug therapy was greater than American's median household income in 2013.

While the median household income in the U.S. was $52,250 in 2013, retail costs for specialty prescription drug therapy averaged $53,384.

What's the average annual cost of prescription therapy using generics?

In 2013 the average price for generic prescription drug therapy was $283.

How does the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) define "expensive" drugs?

Since 2008, a drug that is $600 per month is considered expensive.

What organization launched the Campaign for Sustainable Rx Pricing?

The National Coalition on Health Care created this awareness campaign.

What is the estimated average cost of research and development for just one drug?

The pharmaceutical industry estimates an average of $2.6 billion is spent on research and development per drug.

How much do drug manufacturers report they spend every year covering the cost of specialty drugs or copays for patients who can't afford treatment?

Drugmakers estimate they spend $4 billion a year on financial programs to help patients afford specialty drugs.

True or false: Medicare doesn't allow drugmakers to offer financial help to those covered under the plan.

Medicare restricts drugmakers from providing financial aid for specialty drugs.

In 2013, of the 46 specialty drug categories, how many had an annual retail cost increase greater than the rate of general inflation (1.5 percent) in the U.S.?

All but four —overall, increases ranged from almost 2 percent to a little more than 77 percent.

How much was the average increase in retail prices for the 115 most commonly used specialty treatments in 2013?

In 2013, the retail prices for specialty drugs increased an average of 10.6 percent, more than 7 times faster than the general inflation rate over the same time.

True or false: Because hospitals pay wholesale prices for drugs, the retail price increases don't affect them.

Costs for hospital-administered drugs increase similarly to consumer price increases.

How do insurers typically organize their prescription drug coverage?

Think of it like a prescription pyramid organized by cost: cheap, flat fee (usually generic) meds on the bottom tier increasing to expensive meds that often require out-of-pocket expenses at the top.

Which of these specialty drugs used enzymes extracted from human placentas to prove its concept?

During what's known as the "proof-of-principle" phase of research, scientists used glucocerebrosidase in alglucerase (commercially known as Ceredase).

Are all specialty drugs orphan drugs?

Orphan drugs are specialty drugs, but not all specialty drugs are orphan drugs.

How many U.S. adults skip doses or don't fill prescriptions because of high prices?

According to a Commonwealth Fund survey, one in five Americans go without treatment because of cost.

Which category for specialty drugs had the biggest price increase in 2013?

Anti-neoplastics, which are anti-cancer/anti-tumor therapies, had a 77.2 percent price increase.

How much is obeticholic acid, the first new drug in 50 years approved to treat a rare autoimmune disease that attacks the liver, projected to make between the time it hits the market in 2016 and 2020?

According to forecasts, global sales of this new drug are projected at $1.8 billion between 2016 and 2020.

What's the gist of the "Big Pharma conspiracy"?

According to the Big Pharma conspiracy theory, drugmakers withhold cures because curing diseases would hurt their bottom line.

What's it known as when drug companies continually increase the retail price of last year's (or older) drugs and decide new drug prices based on those adjustments?

This strategy has been called the "market spiral pricing" model and drives up the cost of prescription drugs.

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