StatNews reports that AstraZeneca CEO, Pascal Soriot, already has hiked prescription drug prices excessively this year on many of the company’s drugs between five and ten (9.9 to be precise) percent. Yet, on a recent investor call, he said that these price increases were “modest.” And, he claimed that 2018 AstraZeneca prices increases were between 1 and 3 percent, in line with inflation.
Yes, we are living in a world where 1 to 3 percent is really 5 to 10 percent and excessive is modest. When questioned, an AstraZeneca spokesperson claimed that Soriot was only speaking about some of its drugs, not all of them. And, some drugs only did see small price hikes. Of course, some is not all.
Congress has given pharmaceutical companies with patented products the freedom to increase their prices at will, as much as they think Congress and insurers will tolerate. And, they have. So, Soriot might believe that drug price increases that are between five and ten percent are modest, given that they could be 50 and 100 percent or even 500 and 1,000 percent.
If Soriot was trying to show that he understood the public’s concern with high prescription drug prices, he failed. He intended to support Trump when he said that AstraZeneca would not raise its drug prices again this year. But, he should be called to task for even suggesting that AstraZeneca is trying to serve the public good when his company charges excessive prices for its drugs and has already raised prices way higher than inflation this year.
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