Gilead, Biogen, GSK, Pfizer and Others Increase List Prices of Some Drugs

Drug price increase

Pharmaceutical companies kept their annual New Year’s Day traditions going with increases on the list price of drugs. According to an analysis conducted on Jan. 1, more than 250 drugs manufactured by different companies saw price increases.

The analysis, conducted by healthcare research firm 3 Axis Advisors, showed that the price increases were between 1% and about 10%, with the average drug price increased by about 5%, CNBC reported. Over the past four years, the median increase has been 9% and 10%.

Companies that increased prices on Jan. 1, according to the report, included GlaxoSmithKline, Biogen, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Gilead Sciences, Sanofi and Pfizer. More price increases are expected to be announced later this week, which could affect the median and range of those hikes, 3 Axis co-founder Eric Pachman told Reuters.

The list price is the price set by drug manufacturers and is then negotiated by payers. The list price is rarely the retail price a consumer pays.

The annual price increase continues to happen even as lawmakers in the United States are drafting and attempting to pass legislation that would grant the U.S. government the power to negotiate with drug companies over the cost of medications covered by Medicare and other federally-supported plans. Prescription price costs will certainly play a role in the coming 2020 presidential election.

As drug prices continue to play a central role in U.S. electoral politics, many drug companies have pledged to keep price increases below 10%.

Bristol-Myers Squibb increased the price on 10 of its drugs, including cancer immunotherapies Opdivo and Yervoy. Both of those drugs saw a 1.5% price increase, according to the report. Eliquis, its blockbuster blood thinner, saw a 6% price increase. Revlimid, which came under BMS’ umbrella following the company’s $74 billion acquisition of Celgene last year, also saw a 6% price increase. Revlimid, which earned nearly $10 billion in revenue for Celgene last year, is expected to lose about 60% of its earning power over the next seven years as patent protection drops. Still, the multiple myeloma drug is a strong driver of revenue for the combined companies. For BMS, a 6% price increase is the most the company will raise drug prices this year, the company told CNBC.

Gilead Sciences increase prices on more than 15 different drugs including HIV treatments Biktarvy and Truvada. Both of those drugs saw price increases under 5%, CNBC reported.

Biogen notably increased the price of its multiple sclerosis treatment Tecfidera by 6%.

Pfizer told Reuters that it will increase the list prices on around 27% of its portfolio in the United States by an average of 5.6%. Nearly half of those increases, about 43%, will be for sterile injectibles. A Pfizer spokesperson said the increases will be less than $1 per product. Two notable Pfizer drugs that will see increases are cancer drug Ibrance and its rheumatoid arthritis drug Xeljanz.

GSK is increasing the cost on 30 different drugs, including its Ellipta inhaler for asthma and PARP inhibitor Zejula, which it gained in its $5.1 billion acquisition of Tesaro Oncology in 2018. Some of the HIV medications developed by its subsidiary ViiV will also see increases, Reuters said. However, it did not indicate which of those drugs would go up in cost.

Sanofi plans to increase the list price of 10 drugs, with hikes of between 1% and 5%, according to the report. Israel-based Teva Pharmaceutical will also increase the price of about 15 drugs by 6%, according to the report.

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