Add one more pharma industry titan to the list of companies combating – or at least explaining – extravagant drug price hikes.
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Merck detailed that its increases on the list prices of brand name drugs and vaccines ranged anywhere from 7.5% to 10.5% between 2010 and 2014. In 2016, the company said that its price increased were limited to the single digits.
“Because price increases have become such an important issue, we felt we needed to provide greater transparency into list and net prices,” said Robert McMahon, president of Merck’s U.S. market, in an interview with the Journal. “The price increases we take are reasonable.”
The drug price issue has rocked the biopharma industry over the last couple of years. Drug makers are facing heat from President Donald Trump, who has pledged to combat high prices through direct bidding in Medicare, and have also been encouraged by major players like Allergan (AGN) CEO Brent Saunders to voluntarily limit price hikes to avoid more heavy-handed regulations.
What’s unclear is whether or not this transparency effort will actually help patients who can’t afford their therapies. List prices only provide a partial picture on drug prices, which are then filtered through benefits managers, insurance companies, and other players in the health care economy.