The global pharmaceutical’s routine January price hikes are here once again – and not even a pandemic seems capable of slowing the number of surges. Amid ongoing scrutiny from the public and politicians, though, the level of many of the price increments seems muted compared with past years. As of January 3, drug companies, large and small, had up the prices of nearly 600 medicines by an average of 4.2% according to a report. The hikes come as Pharma companies are reeling from the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, which has lessened doctor visits and demand for certain drugs. There is also the effect of fighting the new drug price-cutting rules from the Trump administration, which would affect the industry‘s profitability. Cutting down the U.S. prescription drug prices – which are among the most expensive in the world – was a major focus of outgoing U.S. President Donald Trump. He issued a number of executive orders in late 2020 as promised, but their effects could be limited by legal challenges and other issues.
Below are some of the major January Price hikes in the Pharma sector so far in 2021:
1. Pfizer’s hikes took a significant portion of the list: The Company upped prices on more than 130 products to begin the year, including a 0.22% jump for antiarrhythmic medicine Norpace CR and a 5.4% increase for pneumococcal shot Prevnar 13 (the world’s bestselling vaccine).
2. Allergan, acquired by AbbVie sometime in 2020, increased prices on more than 30 drugs by 5%. It also raised prices on several other drugs by low-single-digit percentages.
3. Bristol Myers Squibb upped prices in 11 drugs; its highest increase was a 6% hike for blockbuster blood thinner Eliquis, a drug it shares with Pfizer.
4. Big Pharma GlaxoSmithKline hiked prices for 31 drugs and vaccines. A number of GSK’s price increments for vaccines came in above 5%, such as a 7% surge for shingles shot Shingrix and an 8.59% boost for combination diphtheria, pertussis, and tetanus vaccine Pediarix.
5. AstraZeneca, Gilead Sciences, Sanofi, and Bayer, for their parts, each increased prices on more than 10 drugs by low-single-digit percentages.
6. But while a lot of manufacturers kept their prices hikes to low- or mid-single-digit percentages in 2021, Teva Pharmaceutical Industries hiked prices on 16 drugs, including Austedo, which treats rare neurological disorders, and asthma steroid Qvar, which grossed more than $650 million combined in sales in 2019 by more than 9%.
7. The largest increment so far this year is from Vifor. The company hiked its price on Venofer by 14.58%.