Hundreds of Drugmakers Increase Their Prices Each Year, Research Indicates

October 2, 2015

Bloomberg News (Koons, 10/2) reported that although the 5,000% price increase by Turing Pharmaceuticals “garnered national media attention,” it is “just one of hundreds of smaller price increases drug companies make in the U.S. each year.” The nation’s largest drugmaker, Pfizer, “has raised prices on 133 of its brand-name products in the U.S. this year” and “[l]ike its competitors, Pfizer has been raising prices on older drugs in its portfolio for years.”

Marcia Angell, MD, senior lecturer in social medicine at Harvard Medical School and former editor-in-chief of the New England Journal of Medicine (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 10/4), wrote that “exorbitant charges for drugs that treat serious diseases are hardly unusual.” Dr. Angell pointed out that “unlike every other advanced country, the United States permits drug companies to charge patients whatever they choose,” yet such companies are “totally dependent on government support.” She concluded that “the public should demand something in return for all that governmental support.”