GSK, Pfizer and Sanofi are some among the many drug-makers planning to implement price hike in the US

According to a report from Reuters, these three companies among others are planning to increase the price of around 200 drugs in total. The planned price hikes were revealed by healthcare research firm Axis Advisors. According to Axis, the median price increase of these drugs is set to be around 5%, with around half of them in the 4%-6% range.

This is a bold move by pharma companies, amidst the political discourse and intense public scrutiny over prescription drug prices in the US. Drug prices have been a key issue for both Trumps administration and the opposition Democratic party, and it would come to no surprise if it dominated the election campaign in 2020.

GSK will increase prices of around 30 of its drugs including its Ellipta inhaler, cancer drug Zejula and various products from its HIV division ViiV healthcare. Pfizer has planned price hikes for over 50 of its drug, including inhibitor molecule Ibrance, which grew by 27% to $1.3bn in the last quarter.
Both American parties have come up with plans to tackle the pricing epidemic currently rampant in the US. In July, Trump unveiled plans to allow the re-importation of certain drugs from Canada, which has since been advanced last month. This draft guidance would allow states in the US to import prescription drugs from Canada. While the Democrats have recently passed a bill through the Senate targeting 250 high-cost drugs that would be subject to cost-cutting negotiations by Medicare.

Both plans have been met with harsh criticism, with industry body PhRMA hitting back at the Democrats plan, stating that it “ would end the current market-based system that has made the US the global leader in developing innovative, life-saving treatments and cures.” There has also been skepticism from industry experts regarding the pharma industries willingness to sell more drugs to Canada so that the US can import them at cheaper prices.

From all this political scrutiny, the most recent drug prices although they have drawn criticism, they are substantially lower than historical price hikes. With major pharma companies sticking to the cap of 10% drug price increase, whether this can be attributed to the increased scrutiny remains to be seen.

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