Monday, January 11, 2016

Pfizer Hikes US Prices for Over 100 Drugs on Jan. 1

Pfizer. (photo: Mark Lennihan/AP)
Pfizer. (photo: Mark Lennihan/AP)

By Deena Beasley, Reuters
10 January 16
fizer Inc, which plans a $160-billion merger with Ireland-based Allergan Plc to slash its U.S. tax bill, on Jan. 1 raised U.S. prices for more than 100 of its drugs, some by as much as 20 percent, according to statistics compiled by global information services company Wolters Kluwer.

Pfizer confirmed a 9.4 percent increase for heavily advertised pain drug Lyrica, which generated $2.3 billion in 2014 U.S. sales; a 12.9 percent increase for erectile dysfunction drug Viagra, which had 2014 U.S. sales of $1.1 billion; and a 5 percent increase for Ibrance, a novel breast cancer drug launched last year at a list price of $9,850 per month, or $118,200 per year.

Company spokesman Steven Danehy could not immediately confirm the remaining price increases, which were compiled by a unit of Wolters Kluwer Health and published in a research note by UBS Securities.

U.S. lawmakers, and presidential candidates, have in recent months stepped up criticism of U.S. drug prices trends, driven in part by eye-popping price hikes from companies with recently acquired generic drugs.

"Medicines are among the most effective and efficient use of private and public health care dollars," Pfizer said in an emailed statement.

"It is important to note that the list price does not reflect the considerable discounts offered to the government, managed care organizations, and commercial health plans and certain programs that restrict any increases above the inflation rate."

UBS said Pfizer increased prices by 20 percent for anticonvulsant Dilantin, hormone therapy Menest, angina drug Nitrostat, Tykosyn for irregular heartbeat, and antibiotic Tygacil.

The analyst report said U.S. prices were raised on a total of 105 Pfizer drugs. No price reductions were reported.

Pfizer is by no means the only drugmaker to raise prices. Research firm Truveris found that U.S. prescription drug prices rose 10.9 percent in 2014, including a 15 percent increase for brand-name products.

The planned Pfizer/Allergan deal, which would create the world's largest drugmaker and shift Pfizer's headquarters to Ireland, would also be the biggest-ever instance of a U.S. company re-incorporating overseas to lower its taxes. U.S. President Barack Obama has called such inversion deals unpatriotic and has tried to crack down on the practice.

Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton pledged to propose measures to prevent such deals. The merger was also slammed by her rival Senator Bernie Sanders as well as by Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump.

Pfizer, which will report its 2015 earnings February 2, posted biopharmaceutical revenue of $45.7 billion in 2014, including U.S. sales of $17.2 billion.

Also in 2014 the company, currently headquartered in New York, spent $8.4 billion on research and development, $14.1 billion on sales, informational and administrative costs, including advertising, and nearly $12 billion to buy back its shares and pay dividends to shareholders.


+11 # PCPrincess 2016-01-10 10:18
I think it would be wise to invest in a non-profit whose sole purpose is to purchase similar drugs as those made by companies like Pfizer and import them for use by Americans, legal or not. The ONLY way we will beat this type of greed is to NOT purchase the drugs. We know we can't count on our elected officials to eliminate monopolies and promote the 'general welfare'. Unless of course, we are actually able to do the one thing that would finally put us on course to righting the sinking ship: elect Bernie Sanders. Granted, his election alone would not fix the U.S., but without his election, it will never even start.
0 # Barbara K 2016-01-10 12:21
I agree with you. We need to be able to import the meds and get them cheaper. There is no reason that these already super wealthy "druglords" to be overcharging Americans. We should be able to buy them via email from foreign countries where the same drug is cheaper, or one just like it. If we stop buying the expensive stuff, it will hit their bottom line here.
+2 # Vardoz 2016-01-10 12:11
As I have been saying, as has Warren and the Pope have been saying and we all know that the game is rigged against us. They don't care if we the people die!
As we are being impoverished by corporate greed and greed by the super wealthy, drug companies are putting it to us often with medications that cost pennies to make overseas.

People need to vote for Bernie Sanders
like your lives depend on it, because it does. He will start the ball rolling. It won't happen over night but things will change. Just the fact that Bernie Sanders would win will change the entire voting climate. People will see that
they can be effective and more Progressives and Democratic Socialists will run.

This is a fight for our very
lives because corporations and the 1% don't care about us at all. They only care about their wealth and profits. No matter what religion you are you still want to have a decent standard of living and the GOP is working for the 1% not us.

Our lives should not be threatened in the richest nation in the history of the world!!!
+1 # Phillybuster 2016-01-10 13:05
It should always be remembered that many "new" drugs are really "me-too" drugs. The older drugs, which are often generic, usually work as well or even better with fewer side effects than the newer ones. Listen to the side effect profile on the TV promos - the "cure" is usually worse than the disease.

Within a few months after a new drug comes out, late night TV watchers can anticipate the inevitable,"If you, or anyone you know or love, has used the drug (fill in the blank) and suffered any of the following: (fill in the blanks), you may be entitled to a settlement. If so, contact the law firm of Dewey, Cheatem & Howe. Operators are standing by!" (Can't they afford chairs?)

As an aside, I work in the healthcare industry and I would make a rough estimate that 80-90% of patients I've seen diagnosed with fibromyalgia reported no benefit from Lyrica.

Viagra and other ED drugs are used as much as a recreational drug than for a true medical condition. It's amazing how many men in their 20s, 30s and 40s developed ED after ED drugs became available. And male porn actors keep that erection going by way of "better living through chemistry".
0 # mavrant 2016-01-10 13:44
The drug manufacturers will only increase the price of the drugs to the countries that will allow them to be shipped to the US. In addition, they will ration the quantity of drugs that are allowed to be sold to those countries, so that selling them to US will reduce the availability in the country shipping it to US. Also, it's illegal to get drugs from other countries, and in reality, how many times have "foreign, aka Canadian pharmacies", been found to be fronts for disreputable companies shipping crap, counterfeit or adulterer drugs to customer? Lots. They're even in packages with counterfeit labels of the big name pharma mfgs. Even our supply chains are at times tainted, but I'd trust it better than an unknown.

This is a bitch of a problem. I'm a retired pharmacists, and believe that only some sort of legislative sol'n will stem this type of profiteering by companies like Turing and Valeant, and now the biggest....Pfiz er. These guys OWN the legislative, and legal process. Our legislators need to act without the fear of being blackmailed by crap like price caps=less "innovation" B.S. a lot of the research is really just market research. Company's research and development debts are usually gutted when companies have merged with Pfizer. One possible solution is for the NIH to fund more research thru academia and then license production and testing thru manufacturers, while we the taxpayers have the patents that our money pays for. Anyway, what do I know?
0 # Tippitc 2016-01-10 13:56 New Zealand is the only other country that allows direct-to-consumer advertising for prescription drugs. Drug companies are what we used to call "pushers" - both my husband and I work in the "medical industry" and hear patients asking for the latest drug advertised on TV.

Go to the doctor's office and pick up a copy of WebMD - first they convince you that you are dying of the common cold and then they tell you about a new drug to "cure" you - at an egregious price of course.


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