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Dramatic Price Increases in Brand Name Drugs Spur Shareholders to Action
Date:4/27/2011

NEW YORK, April 27, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- As the skyrocketing costs of brand name drugs leave millions of Americans skipping doses or abandoning their prescriptions, investors representing 14 faith and health care organizations are petitioning the nation's top pharmaceutical companies to re-examine pricing for commonly used drugs like Lipitor, Plavix and Celebrex in an effort to make them more affordable.

The group is citing several benchmarking reports including one from the General Accountability Office this past February that found branded drugs consistently outpacing generics relative to inflation (6.3% vs. 3.8%). ICCR members are asking management for pricing that hews closer to the consumer price index, a strategy they believe is a more accurate reflection of value and a more sustainable policy over the long term.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services projects that U.S. prescription drug spending will grow 93% during 2008-2018, exceeding all major categories of health expenditures. AARP reports that the branded prescriptions most widely used by Medicare patients increased 9.7%, far exceeding the cost for other consumer goods in the last 12 months: prices for generics during the same time period fell. A November 2010 report from Deloitte Consulting concluded that the issue will intensify, and that current pricing practices are not sustainable.

"The evidence from all the studies is clear," said Ed Gerardo, director, Community Commitment and Social Investments of Bon Secours Health System, Inc. "Measures must be taken to control costs and bring transparency into the drug pricing equation."

Resolutions are on the ballots at the nation's top pharmaceutical companies including Johnson and Johnson, Abbott, Bristol-Myers Squibb and Pfizer, requesting that management utilize a combination of approaches to keep drug prices at reasonable levels.

ICCR members have been in
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SOURCE Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility
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