According to the news report by Bloomberg, pharma companies have ignore Trump and gone ahead and raised prices on drugs. President Trump may have been successful in convincing pharma giant Pfizer Inc. to delay increasing prices scheduled for July.
However, Pfizer is not the only company that has been planning to raise its drug prices recently. In fact, in the last ten days alone, at least 10 pharma and biotechnology companies have raised the price of more than 20-brand name drugs, according to data taken from Rx Savings Solutions as well as Bloomberg Intelligence.
Most of the increases were focused on drugs for diseases such as cancer, liver disease, diabetes and multiple sclerosis and the hike was less than 10% for each of those medications. However, one particular drug, a sleep aid that isn’t prescribed very often, saw a price jump of more than 700%.
According to data collated from by Bloomberg Intelligence and First Databank, Celgene Corp. increased the price of its blockbuster anti-cancer medication, Revlimid by 5%. Now, the anti-cancer drug costs $695.48 per capsule. Since Trump was elected as President of the United States in 2016, this drug’s price has been increased on four separate occasions. Since 2016, the price of Revlimid has gone up by 25%.
Celgene also increased the cost of yet another anti-cancer drug called Pomalyst by 5%.
Other companies that have increased prices of branded medicines include Roche and Novo Nordisk.
The CEO of Rx Savings Solutions Michael Rea says that the number of price hikes since Trump was elected just points out to that fact that pharma companies are not going to be impacted by his bullying tactics. He also said that the number of increases show that the fear of government threats is fading.
Rea also went on to say that he did not expect Pfizer to keep to its agreement with Trump about not raising drug prices. The company received this blowback only because it is so prominent. Other not-so-prominent companies were able to get away with increasing their drug prices.
According to Senator Ron Wyden, Trump’s one-on-one attempt with Pfizer was just a public relations stunt that didn’t do anything to address the fundamental issues that were causing price increases in life saving drugs every year.
One of the top health officials in Trump’s administration promised that more concrete action was going to be taken soon on the issue of price increases for medicines. However, it is still to be seen what effect the government will have on price increases.
For example, Celgene’s Chief Executive Officer Mark Alles has promised to not increase prices more than once a year and that these increases would be capped at the projected yearly growth in expenditure on medical spending in the US. For 2018, that target has been forecast at 5.3%.
The biotech company kept its price increases at less than that number. Celgene’s spokesperson also stated that there were no other price increases their drugs were planned for this year.
Trump, Cowen & Co.’s analyst, Phil Nadeau is not very convinced. He feels that any kind of price increase in the current environment is a bold move. He is not the only one who has voice disapproval of the price increases. A cancer patient who founded the advocacy group Patients for Affordable Drugs, David Mitchell stated that the price of these drugs should not be increasing at all. In fact, they should actually have been going down over the years. Mitchell was one of the cancer patients who had to take Revlimid and is now suing Celgene for anticompetitive behavior.