Industry limits price increases as debate continues
- With the start of the new year, several companies announced price increases to key drugs, including Allergan, Biogen and Horizon Pharma.
- Virtually all of the increases became effective at the beginning of the year, and all were below 10%.
- Late last year, Allergan CEO Brent Sanders made waves in the industry when he proclaimed that the Irish pharma would aim to rein in aggressive pricing tactics.
Allergan was among the many companies enacting price increases for older drugs to kick off the new year. The company increased the price on almost ten drugs, including for Linzess (linaclotide), the gastrointestinal drug with which it is partnered on with Ironwood. Linzess' price increased by 9.5%.
Allergan also raised the price of the birth control Lo Loestrin Fe by 9% and the glaucoma drug Lumigan (bimatoprost) by 9.5%.
Investors who may have been wondering if Saunders would keep his promise to limit price increases got their answer, at least for now. The exec promised patients the company would only increase prices once per year and keep those increases to low-to-mid single digit percentage hikes.
Other notable price increases included a 7.9% jump for Teva Pharmaceutical's multiple sclerosis drug Copaxone (glatiramer) and a 3.5% increase for Biogen's MS drug Tysabri (natalizumab).
Wells Fargo analyst David Maris pointed out in a recent note to investors that there were plenty of drug price hikes in 2016, despite ongoing scrutiny of pricing. (Many increases were for cheaper generic drugs, however.) Maris noted that prices for 19 drugs increased by more than 1,000%, while 43 drugs crossed the 500% threshold and 100 drugs had prices doubled. Prices on almost 2,000 drugs were increased by between 9% and 40%.
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