(Reuters) – Executives from seven of the world’s largest pharmaceutical companies are set to testify about high U.S. prescription drug prices at a U.S. Senate hearing on Tuesday, amid an intensifying focus on the industry’s practices by both political parties.
FILE PHOTO: Olivier Brandicourt, Chief Executive Officer of Sanofi, addresses the annual news conference of Sanofi at the company’s headquarters in Paris, France, February 7, 2019. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier
Lowering drug prices and healthcare costs for U.S. consumers has been a key focus of President Donald Trump, and rival Democrats are stepping up congressional scrutiny of drug price hikes after gaining control of the U.S. House of Representatives.
The United States has higher prescription drug prices than other developed nations, where governments directly or indirectly control costs.
The following is a list of the company executives who are expected to testify at the hearing, as well as some notable recent price increases by the drugmakers:
Executive testifying: Chief Executive Officer Richard Gonzalez
AbbVie’s rheumatoid arthritis drug Humira is the world’s top-selling prescription medicine, bringing in sales of nearly $20 billion last year.
The drug has a list price of more than $60,000 a year, nearly double the price in 2014, according to Rx Savings Solutions, which helps health plans and employers seek lower cost prescription medicines. AbbVie hiked Humira’s price by 6.2 percent in January.
Executive testifying: CEO Pascal Soriot
In January, AstraZeneca raised the list price for its top-selling medicine, asthma drug Symbicort, by 6 percent. It has increased the drug’s list price by about 36 percent since 2014, according to RX Savings Solutions.
Bristol-Myers Squibb Co
Executive testifying: CEO Giovanni Caforio
Bristol-Myers Squibb raised the price of blood thinner Eliquis, which it owns in partnership with Pfizer, by 6 percent in January. The company has increased the list price of the drug, which generated $6.44 billion in 2018 sales for Bristol-Myers, by about 67 percent since 2014.
Johnson & Johnson
Executive testifying: Jennifer Taubert, executive vice president of J&J’s drugs division
In early January, the company raised the U.S. list-prices on around two dozen prescription drugs, including its psoriasis treatment Stelara, prostate cancer drug Zytiga and blood thinner Xarelto.
J&J hiked the list price of Stelara by 6.9 percent in January and it is up about 49 percent since 2014, according to RX Savings Solutions. The drug had sales that exceeded $5 billion last year.
Merck & Co Inc
Executive testifying: CEO Kenneth Frazier
Merck raised the list price of its oral diabetes treatment Januvia by 5 percent in January. It has increased by around 60 percent since 2014, according to RX Savings Solutions. Januvia and related combination product Janumet together brought in close to $6 billion in sales last year.
Executive testifying: CEO Albert Bourla
Pfizer rolled back a set of price increases in July after facing backlash from the Trump administration. Last month, Pfizer raised the prices of 41 of its medicines by 3 percent to 9 percent.
The drugmaker raised the price of its pain drug Lyrica – one of its top-sellers – by 5 percent and has nearly doubled the list price of Lyrica since 2014, according to RX Savings Solutions.
Executive testifying: CEO Olivier Brandicourt
The French drugmaker hiked the list price of its long-acting insulin Lantus by 5.2 percent in January, according to Rx Savings Solutions. It has raised the price of the insulin by more than 40 percent since 2014. Lantus recorded sales of 3.6 billion euros ($4 billion) in 2018.
Reporting by Manogna Maddipatla and Saumya Sibi Joseph in Bengaluru and Mike Erman in New York; Editing by Bernard Orr and Bill Berkrot