January 1 isn’t just a day for making New Year’s resolutions and watching American football. It’s also become the day when the pharmaceutical industry unveils price increases, more or less en masse. The good news, as a number of pharma and biotech analysts have noted, is that the increases for 2018 are smaller than in the past. According to Deutsche Bank’s Gregg Gilbert, between 2013 and 2015 — that is, before Martin Shkreli jacked up the price of an AIDS drug from $13.50 to $750 a pill and made rising drug prices a national issue — the cost of drugs was rising more than 20% a year. In recent years, however, most price hikes have been in the single digits; they averaged 7.2% in 2017, for instance. That’s a whole lot better than a 20% rise. Still, even these smaller price hikes mean that many patients are being gouged. Take, for instance, AbbVie’s rheumatoid arthritis drug Humira. According to Forbes, it can cost up to $50,000 a year per patient. It is also the best-selling prescript...

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