Washington, D.C. – Senate Finance Committee Ranking Member Ron Wyden, D-Ore., called on drug maker Pfizer to justify to the public the continuous price increases it has taken on its drug Lyrica, which is taken by millions of Americans and costs Medicare $2.1 billion every year.
“Seniors are paying too much for prescription drugs, threatening their quality of life and financial security,” Wyden said. “As seniors and taxpayers continue to foot the bill for Big Pharma’s profiteering, the public has a right to know how yearly price increases, often in the double digits, are in any way justifiable.”
Wyden’s letter comes as Pfizer recently announced it would increase prices on 41 drugs early next year, but did not disclose which specific drugs were included in that list. From 2009 to 2015, the price of Lyrica increased by 145%. In 2016, Lyrica’s price increased again by 9.4%. Then in 2017, Lyrica’s price increased another 19.3%.
In the letter, Wyden asks Pfizer to justify its recent price increases of Lyrica, and to indicate whether the fibromyalgia drug is among the 41 products Pfizer will be increasing the price of in January 2019. The letter also requests information on revenue and sales and marketing costs associated with Lyrica. The information mirrors what companies would disclose if Wyden’s SPIKE Act were law. Under the SPIKE Act, drug makers that dramatically increase the price of a drug, or significantly increase the price of a drug with significant utilization in Medicare and Medicaid, would be required to submit a public justification of the cost of the drug. More information on the SPIKE Act can be found here.
The full letter to Pfizer can be found here.