Senator Criticizes Pfizer, Requests Clarification About Upcoming Price Hikes

Pfizer disclosed that it would increase the price of 41 drugs; 37 drugs will see price increases of 5%, 1 drug by 9%, and 3 drugs by 3% on January 15, 2019. The announcement was met with pushback from politicians who have been vocal about drug pricing concerns.
Samantha DiGrande
December 13, 2018
In early November 2018, outgoing Pfizer CEO Ian Read announced that the company will be returning to “business as normal” in regard to its drug pricing in January 2019, after agreeing to hold off on price hikes due to pressure from the Trump administration earlier this year.

Within the announcement, Pfizer disclosed that it would increase the price of 41 drugs; 37 drugs will see price increases of 5%, 1 drug by 9%, and 3 drugs by 3% on January 15, 2019.

The announcement was met with pushback from politicians who have been vocal about drug pricing concerns. Earlier this week, Senator Tammy Baldwin, D-Wisconsin, sent a letter to Read, expressing concern over the pricing announcement and the implications it could have for patients and families.

“I am disappointed that your company has decided to continue playing political games and to raise prices once again in January instead of making a commitment to permanently reduce prescription drug prices for millions of families struggling to afford needed medications,” wrote Baldwin. Pfizer has yet to make a formal response.

This marks the second letter Baldwin has sent to Read in a matter of months. In the first letter, sent in July 2018 after Pfizer announced it would halt on raising prices, Baldwin implored the company to stop “playing games with the costs of prescription drugs that millions of Americans depend on,” and make the price reductions permanent.

In Baldwin’s most recent letter, she requests clarifications around the upcoming price hikes, such as, “What are the current list prices for each drug and what will the list prices be when price increases take effect in January?”; “Were these drugs subject to the price increase deferral that your company announced in July?”; and “For each product subject to price increases this year, please include information on: any changes in the cost of raw materials used in manufacturing; marketing and advertising expenditures; total expenditures on research and development,” among others.

“Leading drug companies’ continued inaction to address rising prices in a serious way is exactly why we need transparency and accountability,” wrote Baldwin. She cited transparency and accountability as “critical first steps” in tackling the high cost of drugs and was open to working together in order to solve the problem.
 

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