LA Times: “AstraZeneca hiked prices on some of its biggest selling medicines…the administration has said nothing about the price increases”

Prices increased for patients with cancer, Crohn’s disease, high cholesterol, ulcers

Washington, DC – Today, Accountable Pharma released the following statement on the news that AstraZeneca has significantly increased drug prices while receiving $1 billion from taxpayers. This comes immediately following the release of another toothless executive order from President Trump and his claim that “drug prices are coming down FAST.”

“This is the latest slap in the face to patients and taxpayers from a drug industry that has received billions of dollars in federal support yet continues to jack up drug prices and profiteer at the expense of patients and families,” said Eli Zupnick, spokesman for Accountable Pharma. “This is especially embarrassing for President Trump who just tweeted that drug ‘prices are coming down FAST’ and once again highlights his broken promise to reduce the costs of prescription drugs.”

Key excerpts from the LA Times story (read the full story here)

“One of the world’s largest drug companies has been aggressively raising prices even as it received hundreds of millions of dollars of U.S. government aid to develop a COVID-19 vaccine. AstraZeneca, which the Trump administration has celebrated for its vaccine work, boosted prices despite renewed promises by President Trump this summer to keep drug costs in check.”

“The multinational pharmaceutical firm raised prices in a way that stood out even among other big drug companies. It announced not just one set of price hikes in 2020 but two, often on the same drugs, according to an analysis of drug pricing data by The Times and 46brooklyn Research, a nonprofit that studies the pharmaceutical industry.”

“AstraZeneca hiked prices on some of its biggest selling medicines by as much as 6% this year at a time when the overall inflation rate is hovering around 1%, the analysis shows. The administration has said nothing about the price increases. AstraZeneca’s second round of increases came after it secured a $1.2-billion commitment in May from the U.S. for vaccine development and as the company was reporting more than $3.6 billion in operating profits in the first half of 2020.”

“The company’s price hikes underscored the persistent inability of American policymakers, including Trump, to rein in drug prices, even during a public health crisis when pharmaceutical companies are getting substantial public assistance.”

“Thus far, companies receiving government aid have only made vague promises to make any vaccines they develop affordable.”

“Drugmakers for years have pledged to make their products more affordable, assuring U.S. lawmakers, patient groups and others that they are sensitive to the struggles many Americans have paying for their medications. Yet patients in the U.S. are finding it increasingly difficult to afford prescriptions, with one in five households reporting last year they were unable to pay for a medicine that a doctor had prescribed in the previous year because of costs. Nevertheless, to start this year, most major pharmaceutical companies continued to hike prices at rates far exceeding inflation, the Times and 46brooklyn found.”

“Several of the world’s biggest drugmakers announced hikes of 5%, 6%, even 9% on a host of popular medicines, according to the analysis, which looked at list prices by the 15 largest drug companies using the Elsevier Gold Standard Drug Database, which includes pricing and clinical information on tens of thousands of medications.”

“At the same time, the company reported that its revenues for the first half of the year were up 14%. Operating profits surged more than 20% from the first six months of 2019, according to the company’s earnings report.”

“Sensitive to voters’ concerns, Trump this summer said he would undertake new efforts to control prices, a promise he had made a centerpiece of his 2016 presidential campaign. To date, none of the administration’s major proposals to restrict prices have been fully implemented.”

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