“WHAT’S PAST IS PROLOGUE” Big Pharma’s Track Record Is A Vast Departure From Its Rhetoric: Part III

Jan 25, 2019
In advance of the House and Senate hearings on January 29, 2019, the Campaign for Sustainable Rx Pricing (CSRxP) is rolling out a new blog series on what lawmakers can expect to hear from pharmaceutical companies.

Yesterday, we looked at the three biggest makers of insulin in the world, Eli Lily, Novo Nordisk and Sanofi.

Today, we will compare the rhetoric and track records of two of the most well-known pharmaceutical companies in the U.S.: Johnson & Johnson and Pfizer.


Johnson & Johnson’s Rhetoric:

  • Former Worldwide Chairman Of The Consumer Group Of Johnson & Johnson Colleen Goggins: “Across Our Organization, We Believe Our First Responsibility Is To The Doctors, Nurses, And Patients, To Mothers And Fathers, And All Others Who Use Our Products And Services.” (Colleen Goggins, Committee On Oversight And Government Reform, U.S. House Of Representatives, Testimony, 5/27/10, p. 1)

Johnson & Johnson’s Record:

  • In 2018, Janssen, A Johnson & Johnson Pharmaceutical Subsidiary And Its Partner, Backed Away From Plans To Triple The Cost Of A Blood Cancer Drug Only After Significant Reproach From Oncologists. (Carolyn Y. Johnson, “Science Hinted That Cancer Patients Could Take Less Of A $148,000-A-Year Drug. Its Maker Tripled The Price Of A Pill.,” The Washington Post, 4/18/18)


Pfizer’s Rhetoric:

  • Former Pfizer CEO William Steere, Jr.: “Pfizer Is Mindful Of The Needs Of The Broader Public.” (Jay Hancock & Sarah Jane Tribble, “Déjà Voodoo: Pharma’s Promises To Curb Drug Prices Have Been Heard Before,” The Washington Post, 7/25/18)

Pfizer’s Record:

  • Pfizer’s CEO Ended Its Freeze On Price Increases By Saying It Would Return To “Business As Normal” In 2019. “Pfizer CEO Ian Read said the company will return to ‘business as normal’ on its drug pricing in January, after agreeing to hold off on price increases earlier this year following pressure from President Trump. Read noted on an earnings call that the agreement to hold off on price increases would end at the end of the year, at which point the company will return to pricing based on the market. ‘We price to the marketplace, we price competitively,’ Read said.” (Peter Sullivan, “Pfizer CEO: ‘Business As Normal’ On Drug Prices Next Year Despite Trump Pressure,” The Hill, 10/30/18)
  • In January 2019, Pfizer Raised Prices On 10 Percent Of Its Portfolio By As Much As Nine Percent – More Than Four Times The Rate of Inflation.(Jonathan D. Rockoff & Jared S. Hopkins, “Pfizer To Raise Prices On 41 Drugs In January,” The Wall Street Journal, 11/16/18)
  • In July 2018, Pfizer Raised Prices On More Than 40 Prescriptions, “In Most Cases [By] More Than Nine Percent – Well Above The Rate Of Inflation In The US, Which [Was] Running At About Two Percent.” (David Crow, “US Drugmaker Pfizer Lifts Price Of Viagra And 100 Other Products,” Financial Times, 7/2/18)

Looking back at Big Pharma’s track record of broken proclamations, pledges and promises, it’s clear drug makers are not committed to turning their rhetoric into reality for patients.

This hearing is an important opportunity – the first of many in the 116th Congress – to hold the pharmaceutical companies accountable and chart a new course for the millions of Americans who should not have to settle for the past as today’s prologue.

CLICK HERE to read Big Pharma’s Track Record Is A Far Departure From Its Rhetoric: Part I.

CLICK HERE to read Big Pharma’s Track Record Is A Far Departure From Its Rhetoric: Part II.