- Pfizer raised prices as much as 20% on roughly 100 drugs starting January 1 of the new year, according to a report published by UBS Securities and compiled by Wolters Kluwer.
- Some of the drugs included in the beginning-of-year price hike were Lyrica (9.4% increase); Viagra (12.9% increase), and Ibrance (5% increase), among others.
- These increases are solely for the list price of the drug and don't reflect the impact of discounts or rebates.
Pfizer made the headlines often lately due to its planned $160 billion tax-inversion merger with Allergan. Meanwhile, media and legislative scrutiny into drug price increases by pharma companies largely focused on other companies.
Politicians and lawmakers have challenged the argument that price hikes such as these should be considered a normal consequence of doing business. Critics rebut pharma's claims that higher prices are need to compensate for R&D costs, a common defense of expensive drugs.
Drugmakers cite the need to recoup tremendous upfront investments in R&D, and the need to maintain a system in which continued R&D and innovation can be funded. Pfizer spent $8.4 billion in R&D in 2014, a year when it had $45.7 billion in revenues.
In this latest round of price increases, Pfizer increased the price of 105 drugs. The hormone therapy Menest, antibiotic Tygacil, irregular heartbeat med Tykosyn, and several others were increased in price by 20%.
Pfizer and others have made the case that pharmaceuticals can ultimately save money downstream on more aggressive, more expensive medical interventions—in addition to saving lives.