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As Americans grapple with the rising cost of prescription drugs, a new analysis found that some hospitals mark up prices on more than two dozen medicines by an average of 250%, underscoring the incentives to use more expensive brand-name treatments than lower-cost biosimilars.

For instance, hospitals charged more than five times the purchase price for Epogen, which is used to treat anemia caused by chronic kidney disease for patients on dialysis. And the price for Remicade, a rheumatoid arthritis medication, was raised 4.6 times above the purchase price, according to Bernstein analyst Ronny Gal, who examined newly released pricing data disclosed by 30 hospitals.


He also reported a substantial difference in pricing for the many of the same 31 physician-administered drug between hospitals – 36%, on average. At the same time, cash prices are “roughly equivalent” to prices paid by commercially insured patients. And administering treatments to commercially insured patients is 20 times more profitable than administering the same drugs to Medicare patients.

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