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January 2, 2019

Pharma companies break 2018 price freeze

On 1 January approximately 30 pharmaceutical companies raised the prices of hundreds of drugs in the US by an average of 6.3%, following a year of price freezes.

By Allie Nawrat

On 1 January approximately 30 pharmaceutical companies raised the prices of hundreds of drugs in the US by an average of 6.3%, following a year of price freezes.

In July, Pfizer reversed its planned price hikes in July following pressure from President Donald Trump and many other large drug makers copied.

The percentage increase is higher than the country’s inflation rate. The Wall Street Journal has revealed that Allergan was the first to act.

Rx Savings Solution CEO Michael Rea told Reuters: “Requests and public shaming haven’t worked [to lower drug prices]. We expect the number of 2019 increases to be even greater than in past years.”

According to Reuters, in November last year, 28 drug makers submitted plans to California authorities to raise drug prices in a minimum of 60 days; a law was passed in 2018 requiring companies to notify payers of significant increases to the list prices of drugs. The 28 companies include large names such as Novartis, Bayer, GlaxoSmithKline and AstraZeneca.

In addition, Pfizer announced in mid-December its plan to increase the price of 41 of its medicines by 5% on 15 January.

The company’s chairman and CEO Ian Read said in the statement: “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.”

It is expected the government and legislature in the US will react strongly against these moves. Lowering drug prices was both a priority in President Trump’s presidential campaign, and something he has continued to push for since, and for the Democrats who recently gained control of the House of Representatives.

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