Pfizer Expected To Increase Prices In 2019 Despite Trump-Influenced Pause

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After a months-long halt on price hikes for pharmaceuticals, drugmakers are poised to increase many commonly used drugs. Pfizer alone intends to raise the prices on 41 drugs come January of 2019. The drugmaker — and many other major drug companies — had largely frozen price hikes after a tweet from Donald Trump blasted them for raising their prices.

But it seems the hiatus has come to an end, and drug companies are back to raising their prices. According to Business Insider, close to 30 other drugmakers are following suit, including Novartis, Allergan, GlaxoSmithKline, Amgen, and Biogen. And experts think that people could see some dramatic increases in the prices of their prescriptions.

According to Ronny Gal, a Bernstein analyst, we could possibly see “a step up in both the number and magnitude of list price increases (as opposed to a more gradual returning to business as usual). However, while individual companies may do well, the price increases taken together would suggest Pharma is ‘tone deaf’ to public concerns.”

This could be in no small part due to the freeze in price hikes that has gone on for the second half of 2018. Pfizer came under heavy fire after a tweet from Trump slammed the company for raising its prices in July. As a result, the company — and many others eager to avoid backlash — opted to reduce or in many cases freeze price hikes for the remainder of the year.

“Pfizer & others should be ashamed that they have raised drug prices for no reason,” Trump tweeted. “They are merely taking advantage of the poor & others unable to defend themselves, while at he same time giving bargain basement prices to other countries in Europe & elsewhere. We will respond!”

Shortly after the tweet went viral, Pfizer agreed to roll back price hikes for the time being. However, they said that should the president not produce a blueprint for price hikes moving forward by January, the company would have no choice but to return to their original plan.

And while there has been much talk about Trump’s blueprint for price hiking in pharmaceuticals and strengthening the healthcare system, ultimately the president and pharma companies failed to reach any sort of agreement.

However, there are some experts that believe the rising tide of outrage over increasing pharmaceutical prices — coupled with a very vocal social media world — could keep price hikes at least somewhat under control.

“Drug companies are facing greater scrutiny than ever on list price increases, and we expect list price increases to moderate somewhat,” Morgan Stanley analyst David Risinger said.