Celgene, Teva schemed to keep drug prices high, boost profits, US House panel finds

A report released Sept. 30 by the House Oversight and Reform Committee shows that Celgene and Teva intentionally increased the prices of their drugs Revlimid and Copaxone to boost profits, STAT reported. 

The report follows an 18-month investigation of the drugmakers based on internal company documents and outlines how the drugmakers raised their prices and schemed to keep lower-cost generic alternatives off the market. 

The report says that in March 2014, Celgene's CEO Mark Alles demanded the price of the Revlimid be immediately raised by 4 percent because the company hadn't met its first quarter sales goals. 

"Can we take the increase tonight so that it impacts sales beginning tomorrow?" Alles asked in an internal email, according to STAT

Revlimid is a chemotherapy drug used to treat multiple myeloma and mantle cell lymphoma. 

The report also states that Teva contracted with middlemen to block lower-cost versions of Copaxone, used to treat multiple sclerosis, from reaching the market. It also used aggressive campaigns to lobby physicians and patients to stay on the more expensive version, STAT reported. 

The drugmakers weren't using the price hikes to pay for new clinical trials, the report states. 

CEOs from Celgene, Bristol Myers Squibb, which acquired Celgene in 2019, and Teva testified before the oversight committee Sept. 30. 

Additional reports are expected to be released Oct. 1 focusing on Amgen, Mallinckrodt and Novartis, according to Politico.

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