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Merck, Novartis and Allergan to raise US drug prices, following most of drug industry

Published on 06/01/20 at 05:25pm

Following most of the large pharmaceutical companies, Merck, Novartis and Allergan have chosen to raise their drug prices.

Novartis is marking up prices on about 7% of the products it sells. Overall it expects US net pricing to decline by 2.5% during 2020.

Merck is raising prices on about 15 medicines. The hikes are within the company’s pledge to limit price hikes to US inflation. Merck says they are “committed to working with policymakers and stakeholders at both the federal and local levels on solutions that will address patient out-of-pocket costs.”

Allergan is raising prices on 25 drugs by 5%, plus two others by 2% and 3%.

This follows moves by the rest of the industry, including Pfizer, Sanofi and GlaxoSmithKline, who have raised prices on hundreds of drugs.

This move by the pharmaceutical industry has attracted widespread criticism. Ben Wakana, Executive Director at Patients 4 Affordable Drugs, said that the industry “can’t break its addiction to price increases.” He added that it is time to introduce legislation to stop this “price gouging.”

Soaring drug prices have been a key political issue over the last two US election cycles. President Donald Trump pledged to bring down drug prices in his 2016 campaign, and in 2018 targeted Pfizer’s proposed price hikes.

Frontrunners in the Democratic Party’s presidential primary, like Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, have attacked the increasing price of drugs. Sanders has continually introduced bills in the Senate that have aimed to slash the price of prescription drug costs.

Conor Kavanagh

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