The GoodRx Index also featured the following trends in the month of September:
- Flu season is starting. Prescription fills for popular cold and flu medications surged in September.
- Actimmune, used to treat osteoperosis and chronic granulomatous disease, continues to be the most expensive drug in the US at over $53,000 for a 30-day supply.
Six popular drugs saw large price increases
In August, four drugs saw substantial price increases, and after this September, we have another six to add to the list.
- SSKI (potassium iodide) is used to treat asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) as well as diseases of the thyroid. This past month, the price for one dropper of SSKI increased by 9.83% from $9.83 to $10.80.
- Niacor is an expensive brand-only medication used to treat high cholesterol, high triglyceride levels and niacin (vitamin B3) deficiency. The price for one tablet of Niacor increased by 9.83% from $2.95 to $3.24 in September, and now a monthly supply can cost as much as $200.
- Uribel is used to treat urinary tract infections. While a 30-day prescription is only about $40, prices are increasing. In September, prices for one capsule of Uribel increased by 8% from $2.19 to $3.13.
- Both Belviq and Belviq XR are used to promote weight loss in obese patients, but prices are increasing. The price per tablet for Belviq and Belviq XR increased by 5.55% in September, and now a 30-day supply can cost close to $300 depending on the form and dosage you fill.
- Banzel is a popular brand-only medication used to treat a form of epilepsy called Lennox-Gastaut syndrome. Both the oral suspension and tablet forms of Banzel increased in price by 5.49% this September. The oral suspension now costs over $150, while a monthly supply for the tablets is over $1500.
- Cabometyx is an expensive brand drug used to treat thyroid and kidney cancers. In September, prices increased by 2.30%, and this is the third price increase that Cabometyx has seen this year. Since January 2018, the price per tablet increased by 9.90%, and a 30-day supply now costs well over $18,000.
These prices are based on the list price—the price set by the drug manufacturer.
Fills for cold, flu and sinus infection drugs increase
This September, prescriptions for popular antibiotics and cough medications increased substantially, marking the beginning of flu season. Fills for benzonatate, a prescription-strength cough medication, increased by 35% this September, while fills for popular antibiotics azithromycin (Z-Pak) and amoxicillin/potassium clavulanate increased by 19% and 13%, respectively.
Prescriptions for flu vaccine Tamiflu have also increased, with fills nearly doubling in just one month from August to September. This tracks closely to what we saw at the beginning of last year’s flu season, indicating that we could be in for another rough year.
The 10 most popular drugs in September
Here were the 10 most popular drugs in September based on a representative sample of fills at US pharmacies. They reflect overall US prescriptions, not fills using GoodRx.
The 10 most expensive drugs in September
These were the 10 most expensive outpatient drugs in September based on list prices for a typical one-month prescription.
Other news from September
- Pfizer voluntarily recalled Children’s Advil due to an issue with the dosage cup.
- The FDA issued a warning that SGLT2 inhibitors used to treat diabetes could lead to a serious bacterial infection called necrotizing fasciitis.
- Camber Pharmaceuticals voluntarily recalled montelukast (Singulair) after a medication mix up.
- GoodRx research observed that West Coast fires lead to an increase in asthma fills, even on the East Coast.
- Eli Lilly created the Diabetes Solution Center, a resource to help patients find personalized solutions for affording their insulin.
- Amid the EpiPen shortage, Walgreens announced that their pharmacies would start stocking a new alternative, Auvi-Q.
- GoodRx partnered with Walmart to offer all quadrivalent flu shots for only $24 with a coupon.
- The FDA approved a new drug to help treat pain associated with shingles.
This data reflects overall US prescriptions (not fills using GoodRx) and comes from several sources, including pharmacies and insurers, providing a representative sample of nationwide claims.
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