Prominent pharmaceutical companies including Pfizer (NYSE:PFE), Sanofi (NYSE:SNY), GlaxoSmithKline (NYSE:GSK) and Teva (NYSE: TEVA) intend to raise U.S. prices of more than 300 drugs starting Jan. 1, according to Reuters.
But President-elect Joe Biden has vowed to slash drug prices. “Too many Americans cannot afford their prescription drugs, and prescription drug corporations are profiteering off of the pocketbooks of sick individuals,” he wrote in a healthcare manifesto.
The industry is also fighting against President Trump’s plan to tether many Medicare drugs’ pricing to lower rates in other countries. A federal judge recently agreed to grant a temporary restraining order against the pricing scheme.
The COVID-19 pandemic has also curbed demand for many drugs and reduced many pharma companies’ margins. While generic pricing eroded 3.3% year-over-year in November 2020, branded drugs increased in price by 3.8% in the same interval, according to UBS.
Many pharmaceutical companies are looking to make moderate increases in drug prices. Pfizer and Sanofi will keep increases for many products to 5% or less, according to the consulting firm 3 Axis. Pfizer, for instance, plans to increase prices on more than 60 medications between 0.5% to 5%.
More pharma companies are likely to announce prices in the coming weeks, according to Reuters.
According to the Consumer Price Index for drugs, drug prices increased by 0.3% from January 2018 to January 2019.
The rate of U.S. drug price increases has slowed, as have the volume of such increases. U.S. prescription drug prices, however, remain among the highest internationally.