Jan. 1 isn't just a day for making New Year's resolutions and watching 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 percent a year.

In recent years, however, most price hikes have been in the single digits; they averaged 7.2 percent in 2017, for instance. That's a whole lot better than a 20 percent rise. Still, even these smaller price hikes mean that many patients are being gouged.

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