Allergan Fulfills Vow––Barely––to Keep Price Hikes Under 10%

Company boosts prices on nine key products in 2017

In September, Allergan promised to keep price increases under 10% as part of a “social contract” with patients, and now it’s making good on its word––barely. The company hiked prices on nine of its branded medications for 2017, with the new costs going into effect on January 1. In line with the company’s vow, pricing on each of the products will be increased by either 9.0% or 9.5%.

The affected brands include:

  • Bystolic (nebivolol), a beta blocker for hypertension
  • Delzicol (mesalamine), an aminosalicylate for ulcerative colitis
  • Estrace (estradiol vaginal cream) for vaginal dryness, itching, and burning
  • Linzess (linaclotide) for irritable bowel syndrome with constipation
  • Lo Loestrin Fe (northinedrone acetate and ethinyl acetate tablets, ethinyl acetate tablets, and ferrous fumarate tablets), a contraceptive regimen
  • Lumigan (bimatoprost) eye drops for reducing intraocular pressure
  • Minastrin 24 Fe (northinedrone acetate and ethinyl estradiol), a contraceptive pill
  • Namenda XR (extended-release memantine) for Alzheimer’s disease
  • Restasis (cyclosporine ophthalmic solution) for chronic dry eye disease

As part of its “social contract,” Allergan stayed away from any major price moves on products nearing the end of their patent lives. Moreover, the company has promised to raise prices only once per year.

Allergan isn’t alone in its sudden interest in conservative pricing. Last year, as public and congressional outrage swirled around rapacious drug-pricing polices, numerous companies found the “10% pledge” appealing. In December, for example, Danish diabetes specialist Novo Nordisk issued its own promise to limit price hikes to single-digit percentages annually.

In a recent Wells Fargo report, analyst David Maris found that 373 band-name products garnered price increases of exactly 9.9% in 2016. One of the firms that toed the line was specialty pharma company Horizon, which posted 9.9% prices increases for its combo arthritis drug Duexis (ibuprofen/famotidine) and its gout drug Krystexxa (pegloticase).

“We believe the drug pricing debate is far from over,” Maris wrote, noting that the issue could still be “on the table” as one of President Trump’s legislative priorities.

Sources: FiercePharma; January 3, 2017; and The Street; January 3, 2017.