Pfizer raises prices on 40 drugs, its second round of hikes this year

Pfizer sign
Pfizer increased prices on 100 meds to start July, according to the Financial Times. (Tracy Staton)

President Trump may think top drugmakers are ready to step up with price cuts, but Pfizer, for one, is going the other way instead.

The pharma giant hiked prices on about 40 drugs as of July 1, according to a company statement and an analyst report. It's the company's second round of increases this year. Many of the latest hikes ring in at just under 10%, a bar that several drugmakers—though not Pfizer—have publicly promised to use as a limit for their own increases.

Among the drugs with higher prices is Viagra, the iconic erectile dysfunction drug that recently went generic, according to a note from Wells Fargo analyst David Maris. Its sticker went up in January and rose again this time, for a combined hike of nearly 20%.

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Pfizer is far from the only company raising prices this year, of course; several drugmakers have drawn fire for their increases, including AbbVie, which continues to raise its price on Humira, already the world's biggest-selling drug. Maris highlighted dozens of price increases across Big Pharma in a January note, including a Humira hike he estimated would be worth more than $1 billion.

A Pfizer spokesperson said the company markets more than 400 drugs and vaccines, and recently modified prices on about 10% of its portfolio, including some price reductions. List prices don't reflect what patients or insurers pay, he added. Reiterating a popular drug industry complaint, Pfizer's representative pointed out that net prices grew 0% in the first quarter "due to the growing amount of rebates paid back to stakeholders in the biopharmaceutical supply chain."

The drug price increases come about a month after President Trump said many drugmakers would be planning "major" price reductions in about two weeks. No such price reduction announcements have been made.

President Trump and U.S. health experts in May unveiled their drug price plan that aims to boost negotiations and competition, provide incentives for lower list prices and help lower patients' out-of-pocket costs. Already, the FDA is highlighting complaints about regulatory abuses that stifle generic competition.

But after the announcement, many experts and industry watchers said the plan won't bring major changes to pricing right away. Dave Fitzhenry, managing partner at consulting group Trinity Partners, told FiercePharma it will be "business as usual" for industry players in the short term.

After a round of price increases last year, the Interfaith Center for Corporate Responsibility asked for a meeting with Pfizer CEO Ian Read. In a letter, members of the group said they were "distressed that Pfizer has responded to the intense scrutiny on pricing over the past year by continuing a relentless march forward on drug price increases."

The investors also wondered if Pfizer was substituting R&D success with price hikes, and called routine price increases an "unsustainable" business model.

Editor's note: A previous version of this story referenced 100 price hikes. Pfizer raised the prices on about 40 drugs, according to an analyst note and a company statement.