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Pfizer sues Texas agency over leak of drug prices

Published on 21/11/16 at 11:23am

Pfizer has sued Texas’ Health and Human Services Commission, after it claimed the agency violated state and federal law by releasing its confidential Medicaid rebate information to two state senators. This came after the agency provided details of the negotiated drug prices to the senators.

With drug pricing still at the centre of a nationwide debate, Pfizer are keen to keep their own prices out of the headlines and has sued to ensure that prices are not released to legislators again.

“This is a situation that is capable of repetition, but evading review,” Pfizer said in its complaint and alleged if the information gets leaked, that could be detrimental to Texas' Medicaid program. Pfizer argues that if prices were to become uniform then the lower relative price that Texas pays would be wiped out.

Bob Moos, a Dallas-based spokesman for the agency, commented that: “We shouldn’t accept the notion that we must choose between innovation and affordability. We deserve both”.

Many efforts are now being made to stem the sway towards regulation of drug pricing and to quieten the debate. Bernie Sanders has been one notable politician who, in the run up to the recent election, stoked public anger against the prices charged by the pharmaceutical companies. The lawsuit by Pfizer is another means to restrict the conversation upon prices. The confidentiality agreement usually takes place upon drug pricing is a means of limiting this discussion and one that the pharmaceutical industry is keen to remain in place. “Small differences in pricing and rebates can make the difference between success and failure,” the drug maker said in a statement.

Ben Hargreaves

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