This Pharma Giant Just Pulled Back the Curtain On Its Drug Price Hikes

January 29, 2017, 1:12 PM UTC
Pharmaceutical Production Inside Merck KGaA Health Care Laboratory
An employee inspects a handful of Concor cardiovascular treatment tablets inside Merck KGaA's pharmaceutical laboratories at the company's headquarters in Darmstadt, Germany, on Thursday, Nov. 3, 2016. Merck and Idemitsu Kosan Co Ltd. today signed an agreement to allow each party to use the other's organic light-emitting diode (OLED) material-related patents in certain areas. Photographer: Martin Leissl/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Photograph by Bloomberg—via Getty Images

Add one more pharma industry titan to the list of companies combating – or at least explaining – extravagant drug price hikes.

Merck (MRK) on Friday unveiled a “Transparency and Disclosures” page detailing business decisions.

Click here to subscribe to Brainstorm Health Daily, our brand new newsletter about health innovations.

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.

Subscribe to Well Adjusted, our newsletter full of simple strategies to work smarter and live better, from the Fortune Well team. Sign up today.

Read More

COVID VaccinesReturn to WorkMental Health