Valsartan and Related Products See Drastic Price Increase

February 7, 2019

Alembic Pharmaceuticals and MacLeods Pharmaceuticals have drastically increased prices as competition in valsartan and related medications was hindered by 2018 recalls.

In the wake of the 2018 valsartan recalls, Alembic Pharmaceuticals has seized the opportunity to hike its drug prices while market competition is hindered.

The recalls began in July of 2018 and have primarily affected Teva Pharmaceutical Industries and Prinston Pharmaceuticals due to a shared manufacturer. In January, the FDA released an official statement on the situation.

According to USA Today, Alembic originally made statements in [late 2017/early 2018] that it could, if desired, quickly respond to the opportunity to drastically increase the prices of its medications.

A recent Elsevier study identified that, by the end of 2018, Alembic had at least doubled the price of 4.4 percent of its generic offerings and increased prices of 17 of its Valsartan offerings by 329-469 percent.

Alembic is not alone in the price hike-MacLeods Pharmaceuticals, based out of Mumbai, India, has also increased its valsartan prices.

In August, MacLeods’ largest price increase was 305 percent for a 30-day supply of 40 mg tablets, while its lowest was a 212-percent price increase for a 90-day supply of 160 mg tablets.

Price increases during periods of increased demands are not entirely uncommon and indicate a relatively unoccupied market sector; however, Joyce, director of health policy at USC’s Schaeffer Center told USA Today that those price increases are usually reserved for less-commonly prescribed drugs and only lasted for around three-to-four weeks.

Consumers with prescriptions for valsartain-containing blood-pressure lowering medications will most likely not experience the effects of the price hike at first. If insured, much of the price differences will be covered by the insurance companies. Down the pike, consumers might see a price increase in insurance premiums to offset the costs initially covered.