Published Date : Jan 11, 2016
After the tremendous hike in certain life-saving and highly popular medicines the previous year, price hikes of essential and popular medicines is apparently also to continue this year. In a recent report, it has been noted that the U.S.-based pharmaceutical giant Pfizer Inc., which is planning a US$160 bn merger with the Ireland-based pharma company Allergan Plc., has increased the U.S. prices for more than 100 drugs, some also by as much as 20%.
Official Pfizer sources confirmed that the prices for painkiller Lyrica have been increased by 9.4%, which led to the generation of revenues worth US$2.3 bn in 2014 U.S. sales; a 12.9% hike in the prices of the erectile dysfunction medicine Viagra, which generated $1.1 bn in 2014 U.S. sales; and a 5% hike in the new breast cancer medication Ibrance.
In the recent months, the U.S. pharmaceutical industry has faced severe criticism at the hands of lawmakers and presidential candidates over the factor of drug price trends in the country, propelled in part by the never-before-seen price hikes from companies that had only recently acquired certain generic medicines.
While price hikes is normally considered normal for any expanding market or industry, the factor has a bit on an emotional appeal when it comes to the pharmaceutical industry. Medicines are considered to be the most efficient and effective use of private and public healthcare funds. Affordable healthcare and medicines are considered as one of the foremost rights of the global population. Thus when costs of essential medicines rise, there is an immediate outrage from the consumer end as well as lawmakers.
This price hike, however, does not reflect the considerable discounts the company offers to managed care organizations, commercial healthcare plans, some programs that restrict any rise above the inflation rate, and governments, states Pfizer.
However, Pfizer is not the only pharm company to raise prices in the U.S. Also, when one looks at the massive amounts of funds invested by the company in research and development, an estimated $8.4 bn in 2014, the price hike do seem practical. How the news goes down with the consumers is a matter that needs to be seen.