Jan 5, 2024

Big Pharma Giant Switches Popular Brand Name Inhaler to Authorized Generic to Maintain Monopoly Pricing Power and End-Run Solutions Meant to Discourage Price Increases Above the Rate of Inflation

Washington, D.C. – The Campaign for Sustainable Rx Pricing (CSRxP) issued a statement Friday on GSK’s strategy to discontinue the brand name inhaler Flovent and replace the product with an authorized generic.

“GSK’s decision to impose uncertainty on millions of asthma patients ahead of the spring allergy season is rooted in a cynical scheme to sidestep accountability for years of egregious price hikes on their brand name Flovent inhaler,” said CSRxP executive director Lauren Aronson. “GSK repeatedly hiked Flovent prices, doubling the inhaler’s price in ten years.”

“GSK’s new strategy will help the Big Pharma giant maintain monopoly pricing power over its authorized generic version of Flovent while end-running solutions meant to discourage price increases that outpace inflation,” Aronson continued. “Big Pharma will stop at nothing to put profits above patients and policymakers must focus on holding the pharmaceutical industry accountable to deliver lower prescription prices for patients.”

GSK faced the prospect of accountability for its price-gouging of Flovent due to provisions passed as part of The American Rescue Plan (ARP) Act of 2021, taking effect in January 2024, that allowed the Medicaid program to penalize drug makers for price increases outpacing the rate of inflation.

As reported by NPR, the GSK strategy grants the Big Pharma giant “a clean slate in terms of price hikes,” meaning the drug maker “can still sell the drug but without a history of price hikes, and without the risk of price hike penalties.”

GSK will also maintain monopoly pricing power over the product with the authorized generic designation. As NPR also explained, “GSK’s generic Flovent isn’t a typical generic made by an outside company to compete against the original product and ultimately lower prices. Instead, it’s an ‘authorized generic,’ meaning it’s made by the same company. In other words, GSK is still calling all the shots on its pricing.”

Read more on Big Pharma’s price hikes continuing to outpace inflation HERE and HERE.

Read more about Big Pharma hiking prices on more than 500 drugs to start the new year HERE.

Read more on bipartisan, market-based solutions to hold Big Pharma accountable HERE.