July 18, 2018 Press Releases

Don’t be fooled by drug price hike pauses

WASHINGTON, DC — In response to the announcement that Novartis is temporarily postponing price increases for five months, Ben Wakana, Executive Director of Patients For Affordable Drugs, issued the following statement:

“Let’s keep reality in focus: Drug companies don’t get credit for keeping prices high. Novartis and Pfizer temporarily postponed regularly scheduled price gouging — they didn’t reduce prices or increase patient access. The bar for giving drug corporations credit for good behavior cannot be this low.”


  • Patients who take Gleevec, a Novartis drug that rose in price from $26,000 in 2001 to $140,000 in 2017, an increase of nearly 440 percent, are continuing to suffer under Novartis greed. “My out of pocket for that drug with Medicare Part D insurance has come to, so far, $60,000 and has cut deeply into my retirement money, which is incredibly devastating and scary…I’m going to be in the poor house a lot sooner than I thought,” one patient told us. Watch Joan Tramontano talk about the impact of Novartis’ price hikes on her life.
  • Pfizer’s well-documented price hikes under CEO and Chair Ian Read entails increasing the pricing of almost 100 drugs by an average of 20% in just the first half of 2017. These increases mirror price hikes by Pfizer from 2014-2016, ranging from an average of 8 percent to 10 percent approximately every six months during the three-year period.
  • The Novartis price gouging pause and Pfizer freeze do not prevent other corporations from raising drug prices. Celgene, the maker of the cancer drug Revlimid, hiked price of the drug another 5 percent. In all, the corporation has driven up the price of its life-extending cancer drug 25 percent in 18 months. That drug should be coming down in price based on generic competition. But Celgene has abused our laws to block generics.


Patients For Affordable Drugs is the only independent national patient organization focused exclusively on achieving policy changes to lower the price of prescription drugs.