Pfizer Raises Prices of More Than 100 Drugs

The U.S. pharmaceutical company Pfizer raised the prices of 105 drugs this month — including the prescription painkiller Lyrica and erectile dysfunction drug Viagra — raising questions once again about pricing practices in the pharmaceutical industry. 

Global information services company Wolters Kluwer compiled a list of the company's drugs prices since the increases went into effect on January 1. The report found that more than 100 drug prices had been hiked by up to 20 percent. 

RELATED: Why the Pfizer-Allergan Merger Is Already Controversial


"Pfizer confirmed a 9.4 percent increase for heavily advertised pain drug Lyrica, which generated $2.3 billion in 2014 U.S. sales; a 12.9 percent increase for erectile dysfunction drug Viagra, which had 2014 U.S. sales of $1.1 billion; and a 5 percent increase for Ibrance, a novel breast cancer drug launched last year at a list price of $9,850 per month, or $118,200 per year," Reuters reported

Pfizer made headlines last year after it announced plans to merge with the Ireland-based drug company Allergan and move its headquarters overseas in an apparent effort to pay a lower tax rate. The $160 billion merger would create the world's largest drug company and allow Pfizer to dodge billions in taxes. This is a maneuver known as a corporate tax inversion — a move that the Obama administration has expressly condemned. 


"Medicines are among the most effective and efficient use of private and public health care dollars," Pfizer said in a statement. "It is important to note that the list price does not reflect the considerable discounts offered to the government, managed care organizations, and commercial health plans and certain programs that restrict any increases above the inflation rate."

In essence, that has been the party line of the U.S. pharmaceutical industry in response to criticism over drug pricing: List prices don't represent the actual amount of money that Americans pay for their medicine when discounts and health insurance are taken into consideration. 

RELATED: These Drugs Expose the Troubling Culture of Drug Pricing

Martin Shkreli's arrest proves karma's a b*tch.

Posted by ATTN: on Thursday, December 17, 2015

While Pfizer appears to have the spotlight for the time being, it is by no means the only drug company that has come under fire for price hikes. You'll probably remember former hedge fund manager Martin Shkreli, who became the face of pharmaceutical greed last year after his company, Turing Pharmaceuticals, raised the price of a lifesaving drug by about 5,000 percent. This is a relatively common (albeit controversial) practice in the U.S., where drug pricing is not regulated by the government

Democratic presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders have voiced support for reform measures to better regulate drug prices in the U.S. Sanders issued a statement following the Pfizer/Allergan merger announcement, stating that the deal would be "a disaster for American consumers who already pay the highest prices in the world for prescription drugs."

"Pfizer, which will report its 2015 earnings February 2, posted biopharmaceutical revenue of $45.7 billion in 2014, including U.S. sales of $17.2 billion," Reuters reported. "Also in 2014 the company, currently headquartered in New York, spent $8.4 billion on research and development, $14.1 billion on sales, informational and administrative costs, including advertising, and nearly $12 billion to buy back its shares and pay dividends to shareholders."