Philippines sets prices despite pharma discounts

The Philippines strikes back. President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo set price controls on two dozen drugs, including Pfizer's Norvasc, in a move expected to cut sales in the island nation by $146 million to $208 million, Reuters reports. This after pharma had mounted a last-ditch lobbying effort--including price cuts of its own--against the price controls.

As you know, a Pfizer-led coalition of drugmakers gave the Filipino government a set of price cuts that aimed to lower costs by an average of 50 percent. But the government wanted popular meds such as Norvasc to be discounted by half, and warned that it might set prices for a subset of meds if drugmakers didn't offer the discounts themselves.

That's exactly what happened, to the consternation of pharma. Though drugmakers said they'd comply with the law, the industry expressed its dissatisfaction with the move. "Price control may deliver some short-term benefits but the long-term negative consequences, not only on the pharmaceutical industry but in other industries, must be considered," Reiner Gloor, an industry spokesman, said in a statement (as quoted by Reuters). Gloor has said small drug firms would be among those most affected by the price controls.

- read the Reuters story