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Painkiller that once cost $138 is now $2,979

Why is health care in the U.S. so expensive? An Irish drugmaker has jacked up the price of a painkiller to nearly $3,000 a bottle. The drug is 22 times more expensive than when the company acquired it in late 2013. The sticker shock for Horizon Pharma's Vimovo drug is magnified by the fact that the painkiller's two main ingredients can be purchased separately -- for just $36. Although patients typically pay just a fraction of the price for Vimovo, the dramatic price increase underlines what critics describe as a murky and wasteful system that ultimately leads to higher health care costs for all Americans. A spokesman for Dublin-based Horizon said that the $2,979 wholesale price does not reflect "the cost to patients or the cost to the system." The company said it has programs to ensure that commercially-insured patients have access "at an affordable price" -- even if the patient's insurance refuses to cover the cost. Horizon estimates that 98% of all insured Vimovo patients pay $10 or less out of pocket. The drug industry has come under increasing pressure from a series of scandals in recent years, including extreme price hikes on an AIDS drug by "pharma bro" Martin Shkreli and on lifesaving allergy treatment EpiPen by Mylan ( MYL ). President Trump has repeatedly vowed to bring drug prices down. Just last month, Trump promised in during his State of the Union Address that his administration will work to fix the "injustice of high drug prices." The day after Trump's speech, Horizon ( HZNP ) raised the average wholesale price on Vimovo by 9.9% to $2,979 per bottle. Horizon confirmed to CNNMoney the price increase, which was first reported by The Financial Times. It's the latest in a series of about a dozen price hikes for Vimovo, which was listed at just $138 per 60-pill bottle in November 2013.

For the original version including any supplementary images or video, visit https://money.cnn.com/2018/02/15/investing/drug-prices-vimovo-horizon-painkiller/index.html

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