“Yet again, another multinational pharmaceutical company got a giant tax break from the Trump Administration and has responded by buying back stocks and enriching its shareholders while continuing to increase its drug price. The rich continue to get richer and the American people continue to bear the costs – just another day in Donald Trump’s America.” -Brad Woodhouse, executive director of Protect Our Care

Axios reported the following this morning:

3. More Drug Company Stock Buybacks

Pharmaceutical company AbbVie, the maker of rheumatoid arthritis drug Humira, said yesterday it has authorized another $5 billion in stock buybacks.

AbbVie has now repurchased $15 billion of its own stock since the Republican tax overhaul was signed into law earlier this year, Axios’ Bob Herman reports.

The big picture: Drug companies are reporting massive profits, due in part to the tax law, and a lot of that money is being used on tools like stock buybacks that benefit Wall Street and executives. Patients, however, continue to voice frustration about their drug costs.

Where it stands: “The 10 biggest U.S. drug makers by sales together bought back about $52.4 billion of their own shares in the first nine months of the year, more than double the $21.7 billion they repurchased in the year-earlier period,” the Wall Street Journal reported earlier this month.

BACKGROUND:

The Price Of Humira Has More Than Doubled In The Previous Five Years. “The price of Humira, an anti-inflammatory drug dispensed in an injectable pen, has risen from about $19,000 a year in 2012, to more than $38,000 today, per patient, after rebates, according to SSR Health, a research firm. That’s an increase of 100 percent.” [New York Times, 1/6/18]

Humira’s Price Increase Makes It “The Costliest Price Hike” In America. “In the latter category is Humira. AbbVie’s 9.7% increase is likely to be the costliest price hike to the U.S. healthcare system. With the drug bringing in $12.6 billion in the U.S. each year, that price increase means ‘an added $1.2 billion to the healthcare system,’ Maris wrote. Over the past five years, Humira’s price has more than doubled, thanks to incremental hikes along the way, he noted.” [Fierce Pharma, 1/4/18]

Americans Pay Two Times What People In The U.K. Pay For Humira. Americans pay, on average, $2,669 for Humira while patients in the U.K. Pay $1,362. Patients in Switzerland pay even less — an average of just $822. [Vox, 11/30/18]