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Drugmakers Begin 2016 With Price Increases

Vanda Pharmaceuticals and Pfizer are among the companies that exercised their pricing muscle even as criticism continues about these costs.

The Wall Street Journal: Drugmakers Raise Prices Despite Criticisms
Drugmakers didn’t let up on price increases with the start of a new year, demonstrating the industry’s pricing power in the face of mounting criticisms of prescription costs in the U.S. Vanda Pharmaceuticals Inc. on Jan 1 raised the price of its new drug Hetlioz, which treats a sleep disorder in blind people, by 10%, to $148,000 a year. Since New Year’s Day, Pfizer has raised list prices an average of 10.6% for more than 60 branded products with annual U.S. sales of at least $10 million, according to Deutsche Bank. Prices for eight of the products went up at least 20%. (Loftus, 1/10)

Reuters: Pfizer Hikes U.S. Prices For Over 100 Drugs On Jan. 1
Pfizer Inc, which plans a $160-billion merger with Ireland-based Allergan Plc to slash its U.S. tax bill, on Jan. 1 raised U.S. prices for more than 100 of its drugs, some by as much as 20 percent, according to statistics compiled by global information services company Wolters Kluwer. Pfizer confirmed a 9.4 percent increase for heavily advertised pain drug Lyrica, which generated $2.3 billion in 2014 U.S. sales; a 12.9 percent increase for erectile dysfunction drug Viagra, which had 2014 U.S. sales of $1.1 billion; and a 5 percent increase for Ibrance, a novel breast cancer drug launched last year at a list price of $9,850 per month, or $118,200 per year. (Beasley, 12/8)

Meanwhile, Bloomberg examines Valeant's recent successes —

Bloomberg: How Valeant Tripled Prices, Doubled Sales On Flatlining Old Drugs
No wonder investors once loved Michael Pearson. In short order, he managed to double sales of Wellbutrin XL, the popular antidepressant, even though far cheaper generics were out there. But behind that move is an untold story that illustrates how Pearson and his controversial company, Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc., vaulted to seemingly unimaginable heights before falling back to Earth. (Weinberg and Langreth, 12/8)

BioMarin Pharmaceuticals is awaiting U.S. regulatory action on its new Duchenne's drug while some patients are worried about access to an inhalable insulin treatment —

Reuters: BioMarin CEO, Waiting On FDA On Duchenne Drug, Eyes Europe
BioMarin Pharmaceutical is expecting U.S. regulators to take action this month on its drug to treat a fatal muscle-wasting disease but is also eyeing the European market, its chief executive officer said in an interview. The company, which specializes in "orphan" drugs for diseases that affect small numbers of patients and sell for hundreds of thousands of dollars, received an unfavorable opinion from a U.S. regulatory advisory committee in November on the experimental treatment for Duchenne muscular dystrophy. (Humer, 12/11)

Los Angeles Times: Afrezza Patients Worry They'll Lose Access To Their Insulin
As Valencia drugmaker MannKind scrambles to replace the strategic partner it was relying on to market and distribute its Afrezza inhalable insulin treatment, diabetics who have come to rely on the drug are wondering whether they’ll be able to continue using it — despite assurances that it will remain available. (Rufus Koren, 1/8)

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