As other major pharma players like Merck (NYSE:MRK) and Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ) vow to limit annual price hikes, a report by the Financial Times found that Pfizer (NYSE:PFE) has raised prices on 91 drugs by an average of 21% in 2017.
The most recent price hike at the start of June was the company’s 2nd for the year – they raised U.S. prices in January as well.
Pfizer’s chief executive, Ian Read, has openly disagreed with other CEOs about how the pharmaceutical industry should respond to calls to limit price hikes.
“We feel we appropriately price our products to the value in the marketplace, and that’s essential for free market systems where you need to recover and direct resources to further innovation,” he told Reuters in January.
The industry has dealt with a number of pricing scandals in the past year, including Mylan‘s (NSDQ:MYL) EpiPen and Marathon Pharmaceutical’s $89,000 Duchenne muscular dystrophy drug which it later sold to PTC Therapeutics (NSDQ:PTCT).
President Donald Trump has called on the industry to lower prices for consumers and newly-confirmed FDA commish Dr. Scott Gottlieb has signaled that he is interested in bringing more generic products to the market to create competition and bring down prices.
But any action on Capitol Hill will have to overcome the pharmaceutical lobby, arguably 1 of the more powerful trade groups in Washington.
In May, The Hill reported that the president’s administration is pursuing actions it can take with and without Congress to combat the industry’s high drug prices.