Pfizer to hike prices of 41 drugs despite Trump criticism

Pfizer plans to raise the prices of 41 prescription drugs in January, despite falling foul of President Trump, who criticised the company’s stance on costs earlier this summer.

In a statement, the pharma giant explained that it planned to stick to its current list prices for about 90% of its medicines from January 15, 2019, and that it would hike the list price of 10% of its entire drug portfolio – 41 medicines.

The price hike will come after current chief operating officer Albert Bourla takes over as the company’s new CEO on January 1, replacing Ian Read who is to step aside and become executive chairman of Pfizer’s board.

Pfizer said in a statement: “The increase in list price to this subset of the company’s portfolio will be 5%. The only exceptions are three products that have a 3% increase and one product that is increasing 9% due to the completion of two extensive development programmes that have led to the recent [US Food and Drug Administration] approvals of two new medical uses that meet unmet patient needs.”

In July, President Trump said on Twitter that Pfizer and other drug companies were taking advantage of the poor and were giving ‘bargain basement’ prices to countries in Europe and elsewhere.

Trump even used prescription pricing in his presidential campaign, saying he wanted to “bring prices back down to earth”, but the government has no jurisdiction over pharma firms when it comes to drug pricing.

Ian Read, Pfizer’s chairman and CEO, said: “We believe the best means to address affordability of medicines is to reduce the growing out-of-pocket costs that consumers are facing due to high deductibles and co-insurance, and ensure that patients receive the benefit of rebates at the pharmacy counter.”

But according to the Financial Times, The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) reportedly remains sceptical that any benefits would be passed on to patients.

Caitlin Oakley, an agency spokesperson, reportedly said: “Drug companies raising their prices and offsetting them with higher rebates benefits everyone but the consumer, who routinely pays out of pocket based on list price.”

She added that Trump and Health and Human Services (HHS) secretary Alex Azar would continue to “take bold action to restructure this broken market”.





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