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Pfizer raises price of Lipitor, Viagra and around 40 other drugs




Pharmaceutical giant Pfizer has raised the price of more than 40 of its medications, including cholesterol-lowering medicine Lipitor (atorvastatin) and erectile dysfunction drug Viagra (sildenafil).

It is the second time the company has announced price increases this year, having raised the price of several medications in January 2018. Other medications included in the latest price hikes included smoking cessation medication Chantix (varenicline), glaucoma eyedrops Xalatan (latanoprost) and arthritis treatment Xeljanz (tofacitinib), and pain relieving medication Lyrica (pregabalin) according to figures seen by the Financial Times.

“The list price remains unchanged for the majority of our medicines. Our portfolio includes more than 400 medicines and vaccines. We are modifying prices for approximately ten percent of these, including some instances where we’re decreasing the price,” a Pfizer spokesperson told Reuters.

Analysis of the figures by The Financial Times found the pharmaceutical firm reduced the price of five of its drugs, with price drops ranging from 16 to 44 percent. Pfizer’s price hike was publicly criticized by President Trump, who, in May 2018, forecast pharmaceutical companies would be introducing “voluntary massive drops in price” in June. 

Taking to Twitter, the president slammed Pfizer and other companies that introduced drug price hikes, saying they “should be ashamed that they have raised drug prices for no reason”, adding “We will respond!”.

In May 2018, the US Department of Human Health and Services unveiled the American Patients First plan, following the president’s State of the Union address in which he said reducing prescription medication costs is one of his “greatest priorities” and pledged “prices will come down”. 

Pfizer was not the only company to increase the price of certain medications in recent weeks; other firms include Sanofi, generics manufacturer Teva Pharmaceuticals, Acorda Therapeutics, and Intercept, which raised the price of liver drug Ocaliva (obeticholic acid). 

In 2017, pharmaceutical firm Mylan hit the headlines following revelations it had increased the price of the potentially lifesaving EpiPen by as much as 400 percent since 2009. Later that year, US Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, MD, announced plans to streamline the approval process for generic drugs, which he claimed would ease the process of copying complex branded medications, offering a greater variety of cheaper options to consumers. 

One way to counter the rising price of certain branded medications is to speak to your physician or prescriber about generic alternatives, which are almost invariably cheaper. For example, Pfizer’s Lipitor is available in generic form (atorvastatin), as is the company’s well-known erectile dysfunction drug Viagra. Among the manufacturers to offer generic versions of Viagra are Teva Pharmaceuticals and Pfizer subsidiary Greenstone.  

*Update: Pfizer has announced a deferral of price increases, returning the price of its medication to the levels seen before July 1st 2018.