Drug Prices That Were Lower in 2022

By Sherry Baker and Temma Ehrenfeld @SherryNewsViews
April 13, 2023
Drug Prices That Were Lower in 2022

While many drugs shot up in price in 2022, some costs fell. New generics are available, offering less expensive alternatives for some brand-name drugs.

Pharmaceutical companies raised prices on hundreds of medications in 2022. But some drug costs decreased. That’s especially good news for people who need specific prescription medications long-term.

Overall, in the 12 months through November 2022, prescription drug inflation was 1.9 percent.

There are two ways drug prices are coming down: changes in Medicare and new generics, alternatives to brand-name drugs.


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Changes in Medicare

Medicare pays enormous sums for the most expensive drugs. In one analysis, about 60 percent of Medicare’s “Part D” drug spending comes from just 7 percent of covered drugs. Such medications have only one manufacturer and no generic or similar alternative, making them more expensive than other kinds of drugs.


  • Negotiates lower prescription drug prices on up to 20 of the drugs on which it spends the most for seniors
  • Caps the cost of insulin at $35
  • Makes recommended vaccines free for Medicare beneficiaries
  • Requires prescription drug companies to pay rebates to Medicare if they raise their prices faster than inflation

Two of the three largest producers of insulin in the country — Eli Lilly and Novo Nordisk — have lowered insulin costs for everyone.

There are no limits, however, on what drugmakers can charge for new medications. In 2022, half of new drugs cost more than $222,000 for a standard yearly dose.

New generics

You can save money if you choose generics; some are less expensive than others. You can save big if you shop for the lowest price.

It’s also true that all generics are not created equal. Some don’t work as well as others because of deceptive practices, largely in India, which produces about 40 percent of the generics used in the United States.

Your best move may be to monitor your condition carefully. If you’re using a generic but don’t feel better or right, talk to your pharmacist. Ask if the pharmacy has changed suppliers.

What are generics?

Drug companies spend years researching and testing new drugs. Because of the expensive process, they receive a 20-year patent on the medications they develop. The higher prices of name-brand drugs help pharmaceutical companies recoup costs and fund their operations.

Trouble is, Americans pay most of the cost, while the rest of the world benefits from U.S. research. Americans pay two to three times more for prescription drugs than citizens in other countries.

Generic drugs are available after a patent expires. Sometimes they are made in the same locations as the brand-name drug and sometimes elsewhere. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has rules and testing procedures to ensure that generic versions perform as well as their brand-name drugs.

Because of trademark laws, generic drugs can’t look exactly the same as brand-name medications, and they don’t necessarily taste the same or contain identical fillers and other inactive ingredients.

Generics must be bioequivalent, meaning they match the brand-name drugs’ strength, quality, and effectiveness, the FDA explains. But, because generic drug manufacturers don’t have the research, testing, and marketing costs associated with brand-name drugs, generics hit the market with far cheaper prices.

Some companies have skirted FDA rules or actively tried to deceive regulators. But that’s not the general rule, and you’d be wasting significant amounts of money if you stick with brand names.

Every year, some patents expire, allowing generics to come on the market. Here are several medicines that became generic in 2022, according to GoodRX, an online drug price comparison platform.

New generic drugs




What is it for?




Multiple myeloma








Pain & swelling







Sitagliptin and metformin

Type 2 diabetes


Janumet XR

Sitagliptin and metformin ER

Type 2 diabetes




Type 2 diabetes



Fesoterodine ER

Overactive bladder


Epiduo Forte

Adapalene 0.3% and benzoyl peroxide 2.5%




The price for specific drugs can vary widely. Talk to your doctor and pharmacist about what medication is best for not only your condition but also your budget, including your insurance coverage.


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April 13, 2023

Reviewed By:  

Janet O’Dell, RN