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Drugmakers to hike prices for 2021 amid COVID, political pressures

#Drugmakers including #Pfizer, #Sanofi, and #GlaxoSmithKline plan to raise US prices on more than 300 drugs in the #United #States on #Jan. 1, according to drugmakers and data analyzed by healthcare research firm 3 #Axis #Advisors.

The hikes come as drugmakers are reeling from effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has reduced doctor visits and demand for some drugs. They are also fighting new drug price cutting rules from the #Trump administration, which would reduce the industry’s profitability.

The companies kept their price increases at 10 percent or below, and the largest drug companies to raise prices so far, #Pfizer and #Sanofi, kept nearly all of their increases 5 percent or less, 3 #Axis said. 3 #Axis is a consulting firm that works with pharmacists groups, health plans and foundation on drug pricing and supply chain issues.

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GSK did raise prices on two vaccines – shingles vaccine #Shingrix and diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis vaccine #Pediarix – by 7 percent and 8.6 percent, respectively, 3 #Axis said.

#Teva #Pharmaceuticals hiked prices on 15 drugs, including #Austedo, which treats rare neurological disorders, and asthma steroid #Qvar, which together grossed more than $650 million in sales in 2019 and saw price hikes of between 5 percent and 6 percent. #Teva hiked prices for some drugs, including muscle relaxant #Amrix and narcolepsy treatment #Nuvigil, as much as 9.4 percent.

#More price hikes are expected to be announced on #Friday and in early #January.

#In 2020, drugmakers raised prices on more than 860 drugs by around 5 percent, on average, according to 3 #Axis. #Drug price increases have slowed substantially since 2015, both in terms of the size of the hikes and the number of drugs affected.

The increases come as pharmaceutical companies like #Pfizer are playing hero by developing vaccines for COVID-19 in record time. The hikes could help make up for lost revenue as doctors visits and new prescriptions plummeted during the global lockdown.

#Pfizer plans to raise prices on more than 60 drugs by between 0.5 percent and 5 percent. #Those include roughly 5 percent increases on some of its top sellers like rheumatoid arthritis treatment #Xeljanz and cancer drugs #Ibrance and #Inlyta.

#Pfizer said it had adjusted the list prices of its drugs by around 1.3 percent across all products in its portfolio, in line with inflation.

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“This modest increase is necessary to support investments that allow us to continue to discover new medicines and deliver those breakthroughs to the patients who need them,” spokeswoman #Amy #Rose said in a statement, pointing in particular to the COVID-19 vaccine the company developed with #Germany’s #BioNTech SE.

#It said that its net prices, which back out rebates to pharmacy benefit managers and other discounts, have actually fallen for the last 3 years.

#France’s #Sanofi plans to increase prices on a number of vaccines 5 percent or less and will announce more price increases later in #January, spokesperson #Ashleigh #Koss said.

#None of the company’s price increases will be above the expected growth rate of US health spending of 5.1 percent, she said.

#Slashing US prescription drug prices – which are among the highest in the world – was a focus of #President #Trump, after making it a core pledge of his 2016 campaign. #He issued several executive orders in late 2020 meant to cut prices, but their impact could be limited by legal challenges and other problems.

A federal judge earlier this month blocked a last-minute #Trump administration rule aimed at lowering drug prices that was set to be implemented at the beginning of the year. #It was challenged by drug industry groups including #PhRMA, the nation’s leading pharmaceutical trade group.

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#President-elect #Joe #Biden has also vowed to reduce drug costs and to allow #Medicare to negotiate drug prices. #He has support from congressional #Democrats to pass such legislation, which the #Congressional #Budget #Office has said could cost the industry more than $300 billion by 2029.

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##Drugmakers #hike #prices #COVID #political #pressures


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