US Congressmen accuse Teva of price hikes over 1,000%

pharmafile | August 21, 2017 | News story | Sales and Marketing Copaxone, Teva, life sciences, medicine, multiple sclerosis, pharma, pharmaceutical, price hiking 

A pair of US Congressmen have fired allegations at Israeli drugmaker Teva accusing the firm of hiking the price of its multiple sclerosis treatment Copaxone (glatiramer acetate) by more than 1,000% since 1996.

Democrat Congressmen Elijah Cummings and Peter Welch have announced their intention to fully investigate Teva’s pricing practices, while also calling out a number of other firms, sending letters to Novartis, Bayer and Biogen, among others.

The pair has claimed that a year’s worth of 20mg Copaxone was priced at $8,292 in 1996 – this ballooned to $51,315 in 2012 and $91,401 in 2017. The cost of a year’s treatment of 40mg of the same drug also increased from $63,715 in 2014 to $80,062 this year.

They have also stated that part of this issue is that a lack of generic competition in the multiple sclerosis drug market means that drug prices are not decreasing – the only available generic of Copaxone still costs $66,731 for a year, and Teva managed to avoid this drug cutting into its sales by transferring existing patients to its new double dose regimen.

“Shortly before this generic was launched, your company developed a new 40mg formulation that could be taken less frequently, and it switched approximately 70% of patients to this new formulation – which faces no generic competition,” the Congressmen wrote in their letter to Teva acting CEO Dr. Yitzhak Peterburg.

“We believe no American should be forced to struggle to afford lifesaving medical treatments, especially when drug companies increase prices without warning, cause, or justification,” the letter also read.

Teva has responded to the accusations with the statement: “We are making an in-depth analysis of the request and intend to respond accordingly, and to fully cooperate with the committee in order to answer their questions.”

Matt Fellows

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