Drug Prices Skyrocket in California — And Probably Everywhere Else Too

The LA Times reports that drugmakers “fought hard against California’s groundbreaking drug price transparency law, passed in 2017.” I’ll bet they did! So what have we learned?

Pharmaceutical companies raised the “wholesale acquisition cost” of their drugs — the list price for wholesalers without discounts or rebates — by a median of 25.8% from 2017 through the first quarter of 2019, according to the Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development. (The median is the point at which half the prices are higher and half are lower.)

Naturally you’d like to see this in chart form:

As you can see, cheap generics saw the largest increase, more than doubling in cost. Everything else increased 20-30 percent. And if prices went up that much in California, it’s a safe bet they went up that much in your state too.

Why? Well, why not? It’s not as if anyone in power right now is going to stop them.


Mother Jones was founded as a nonprofit in 1976 because we knew corporations and the wealthy wouldn't fund the type of hard-hitting journalism we set out to do.

Today, reader support makes up about two-thirds of our budget, allows us to dig deep on stories that matter, and lets us keep our reporting free for everyone. If you value what you get from Mother Jones, please join us with a tax-deductible donation today so we can keep on doing the type of journalism 2019 demands.

We Recommend


Give a Year of the Truth

at our special holiday rate

just $12

Order Now

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.


We have a new comment system! We are now using Coral, from Vox Media, for comments on all new articles. We'd love your feedback.