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Pfizer to raise prices on 41 drugs despite earlier deferral on price hikes

Pfizer to raise prices on 41 drugs despite earlier deferral on price hikes

The company emphasized that the increases mostly amount to 3-5 percent and affect only 10 percent of its portfolio, but declined to reveal which drugs are affected.

Despite putting on hold a plan to increase prices on a host of its drugs, Pfizer said it will nevertheless raise prices on more than three dozen in January.

In a statement Friday, the New York-based drugmaker said it would increase prices on 41 drugs effective Jan. 15, 2019, but emphasized this represented only 10 percent of its entire portfolio, with prices on the remaining 90 percent to remain unchanged. The list price increases will be by 5 percent, with the exception of one product that faces a 9 percent price increase and three others whose prices will increase 3 percent. Furthermore, the company said higher rebates and discounts to insurance companies and pharmacy benefit managers are expected to offset the price increases on the drugs, which will not contribute to 2019 revenue growth.

Still, in a phone call Monday, a company spokesperson said the determination was made in a private filing and declined to name the drugs or their therapeutic areas.

In July, the company deferred on a plan to raise the prices of 100 drugs after a discussion with the Trump administration, stating that it would keep the lower prices in effect until the end of the year or until the administration’s drug pricing blueprint went into effect. Trump had lashed out at the company on Twitter following a Financial Times report that it had increased the prices.

Through the blueprint, Trump has made drug pricing a signature issue, though experts have expressed skepticism regarding how much of an effect it will have. For example, a plan to require direct-to-consumer drug advertisements to include the list prices of drugs drew concerns that it may cause confusion among consumers, including the risk of sticker shock that could scare patients out of taking their drugs.

And while Pfizer emphasized that rebates for insurers and PBMs would offset the price increases, the administration has sought to curb the power of PBMs as well. In August, the Department of Health and Human Services said it had the power to crack down on the secretive rebates that they extract from drug manufacturers and force transparency onto them. However, experts said that while the rebate system is problematic and helps contribute to higher drug prices, there is little the administration can do on its own.

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