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Unfazed by Trump, Pfizer hikes prices for 100 of its drugs

Published on 03/07/18 at 10:46am

After a campaign full of not-so-veiled threats directed at the pharma industry, and a presidency which has so far failed to make good on those threats, US President Donald Trump finally revealed his plans to combat runaway drug prices and stop the industry “getting away with murder” earlier this month. But the strategy was less robust than many hoped.  

Undeterred by these proposals, a number of pharma firms have proceeded to simply ignore the lacklustre plans and raise their prices anyway. Most prominently, it has come to light thanks to a report from the Financial Times that Pfizer has just hefted the price of 40 of its drugs in its second round of hikes this year. So far, the report indicates that the US firm has bolstered the price tags of around 100 of its products this year.

The majority of these increases come in below 10%. A number of pharma firms – most notably Allergan – have pledged to keep such increases below this threshold every 12 months in the interests of fairness and to distance themselves from the negative publicity surrounding the pricing debate, but Pfizer itself has never made such a promise.

Among the hiked products was perhaps the company’s most famous drug, erectile dysfunction treatment Viagra, which saw its second increase this year, raising its price by a combined total of 20%. Other medicines included in the hikes were lung cancer therapy Xalkori, blood pressure treatment Norvasc and pain medication Lyrica.

Pfizer defended its actions by arguing that the increased figures are the list prices of the products, which it says do not reflect the actual price paid by patients or insurers, and that it also provides many of its medicines at a discount. The price increases well outpace the rate of inflation, which stands at around 2%.

Matt Fellows

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