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Monday, January 18, 2016

Pfizer jacks up prices on 100+ drugs

A Chip Off the Old PharmabergFormer pharma CEO Martin Shkreli, widely reviled for dramatically hiking the price of a life-saving drug used by HIV and cancer patients, is in good company.

Starting at the beginning of 2016, the pharmaceutical giant Pfizer Inc. quietly jacked up the U.S. prices of over 100 of its drugs, some by nearly a fifth.

Reuters reported the findings on Friday, citing statistics from the information services company Wolters Kluwer that were included in a research note from by UBS Securities. 

"UBS said Pfizer increased prices by 20 percent for anticonvulsant Dilantin, hormone therapy Menest, angina drug Nitrostat, Tykosyn for irregular heartbeat, and antibiotic Tygacil," Reuters noted.

"The analyst report said U.S. prices were raised on a total of 105 Pfizer drugs," the outlet continued. "No price reductions were reported."

Pfizer's drug hike is consistent with broad industry trends.

According to findings released in April by the firm Truveris, U.S. "branded, specialty and generic drugs rose a combined 3.8% in the first quarter [of 2015]."

Meanwhile, public health advocates are warning that mega "free trade" deals currently under negotiation, including the mammoth Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), are poised to spike drug prices even more—far beyond U.S. borders.

Judit Rius Sanjuan, U.S. manager and legal policy advisor for Doctors Without Borders, cautioned:
"TPP countries have agreed to United States government and multinational drug company demands that will raise the price of medicines for millions by unnecessarily extending monopolies and further delaying price-lowering generic competition."