Pharma gives the middle finger to patients

  • President Donald Trump in May said that drugmakers would soon announce “massive” price cuts but they aren’t in the loop.
  • Bayer raised the price of two cancer drugs by hundreds of dollars in May and Novartis followed by boosting four pricey treatments in June. [inlinetweet prefix=”” tweeter=”” suffix=””]Pfizer, one of the largest U.S. pharma companies, announced increases on more than 41 products this week.[/inlinetweet]
  • [inlinetweet prefix=”” tweeter=”” suffix=””]A Wells Fargo report found 104 price increases in June and the first two days of July[/inlinetweet], with an average jump of 31.5 percent and a median increase of 9.4 percent. That followed 48 increases in May.

You have to wonder if pharma gives a damn about PR or politicians.  The across-the-board price increases of prescription drugs cast doubt on whether Trump and Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar can pressure manufacturers to voluntarily drop prices without the threat of specific consequences.

[inlinetweet prefix=”” tweeter=”” suffix=””]“The industry isn’t taking the administration seriously on drug pricing because there doesn’t appear to be a credible threat if they don’t comply with these requests,[/inlinetweet]” said Stacie Dusetzina, a drug pricing expert at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine.

Pfizer said the increases don’t affect the majority of their medicines, adding that the list prices also don’t reflect what most patients or insurance companies pay “ which is the standard talking point for big pharma.  You can bet, however, that the media and politicians are going to zero in on these latest price increases as despite the fact that [inlinetweet prefix=”” tweeter=”” suffix=””]drug manufacturers account for 88 percent of the cost of branded drugs, PBMs account for just 4 percent of the cost[/inlinetweet], media coverage would lead you to believe that this tiny percentage of a drug’s total expense is driving recent price increases.

We could very well see the huge increase in drug prices continue unabated. If voters don’t see results in the form of lower drug prices by November, America’s future health care laws may be written by the party that is now fully backing a government-run single payer system, with the support of the Big Pharma lobby that endorsed Obamacare and is heavily funding the liberal media.

Ouch.

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