Pfizer, Inc. recently announced its planned 2016 largest-to-date merger in the healthcare industry with Allergan PLC, allowing Pfizer to shift its headquarters from the United States to Ireland in a tax inversion maneuver that will lower its corporate tax rate from the 35% to 12 ½%. The anticipated merger became big news in October 2015, as shown in this YouTube video:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eSN38Hc3JoQ
Those tax benefits are apparently insufficient, as Pfizer also raised prices for 105 of its drugs in the United States, according to Wolters Kluwer, a global company providing information, software, and services to professionals in law, tax, finance and healthcare. Wolters Kluwer found that Pfizer hiked some drug prices by as much as 20%. The company announced no price decreases; Surprise!
Foremost among the affected drugs and their prices increases are:
– Viagra, an erectile dysfunction drug, by 12.9%;
– Lyrica, a pain drug, by 9.4%;
– Ibrance, a breast cancer drug, by 5% (on top of its prior list price of $9,850/month);
– Dilantin, an anticonvulsant drug, by 20%;
– Menest, a hormone therapy drug, by 20%;
– Nitrostat, an angina drug, by 20%;
– Tygacil, an antibiotic, by 20%;
– Tykosyn, a drug for treating irregular heartbeat, by 20%.
While Pfizer is one of the most notable drug companies raising its drug prices, it is by no means the only company. According to Truveris, Inc., a research company addressing healthcare industry issues, prescription drug prices rose 10.9% in 2014.
For its part, Pfizer states, “It is important to note that the list price does not reflect the considerable discounts offered to the government, managed care organizations, and commercial health plans and certain programs that restrict any increases above the inflation rate.”
Meanwhile, the dramatic hikes in drug prices have caught the attention of American legislators and presidential candidates, who at least speak of combatting the problem. The question is whether they intend meaningful action to control drug prices.
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