Pfizer Quietly Raised Drug Prices By an Average of 8.8% Last Week

Published: Jun 10, 2016

Pfizer Quietly Raised Drug Prices By an Average of 8.8% Last Week June 10, 2016
By Alex Keown, BioSpace.com Breaking News Staff

NEW YORK – The price of Pfizer ’s drugs available in the United States got a bit pricier by nearly 9 percent as of the beginning of June. The latest price hike marks the second time the New York-based pharmaceutical giant raised prices on a slew of drugs this year.

The price hike was revealed in a Morgan Stanley investor note, StatNews reported this morning. David Risinger, a J.P. Morgan analyst, said the price increases “do not reflect any rebates or discounts.” Morgan Stanley did not provide information on which Pfizer drugs were going to be included in the price hikes, StatNews said.

Pfizer has steadily increased the price point of its older medications since 2012, adding an additional $1.07 billion in revenue each quarter, which helped shore up declining revenues as the company’s drugs face increasing completion from generics. StatNews noted that Pfizer has increased prices on many of its medications every six months, typically by 7 to 9 percent.

On Jan. 1 this year, Pfizer increased the price of 100 drugs, some by as much as 20 percent. At the time, Pfizer increased the price of Lyrica by about 9 percent on at least one previous occasion. Its erectile dysfunction drug Viagra saw a rise of almost 13 percent. In 2014, Viagra generated $1.1 billion in sales. Pfizer’s breast cancer drug Ibrance, which studies have shown slowed the progression of the most common forms of the disease by more than nine months, saw an increase of about 5 percent. Before the new increase in price, Ibrance had a cost of about $9,850 per month. Pfizer’s drugs that saw an increase of 20 percent in price include anticonvulsant Dilantin, hormone therapy Menest, angina drug Nitrostat, Tykosyn for irregular heartbeat, and antibiotic Tygacil.

Since August 2015, the price of prescription medication has been scrutinized by members of Congress, particularly after Turing Pharmaceuticals acquired the 65-year-old toxoplasmosis drug Daraprim and increased the price by 5,000 percent. Canada-based Valeant Pharmaceuticals is under fire for a price increase of two recently-acquired cardiac drugs, Nitropress and Isuprel, after the company acquired Salix Pharmaceuticals, Ltd. . Valeant then increased the prices for those drugs by 212 percent and 525 percent, respectively.

Pfizer, among other pharmaceutical companies such as Merck and Johnson & Johnson , are teaming up to battle a California ballot initiative that would cap the amount state agencies pay for prescription drugs. The ballot measure, which will be placed before voters in November, would tie the amount of money state agencies pay for medication to the same amount that the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs pays. So far the drug companies fighting the measure have raised about $68 million to sway public opinion, with the big three pharma companies spending about $6 million each.

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