New York investment group calls on pharma for more price transparency

The Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility — a New York City-based group of 300 institutional investors, many with ties to religious organizations — are calling on drugmakers to explain when and why they raise drug prices, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Investors recently submitted shareholder proposals to 11 U.S. drug companies — including Johnson & Johnson, Merck and Pfizer — asking for documentation on the average annual price hikes for their top-selling drugs between 2010 and 2016, along with a justification for these increases, according to the report. The investors also sent letters to six companies outside of the U.S., inquiring about their high drug prices.

The ICCR hopes these proposals will be listed in company proxy statements and voted on by shareholders during annual meetings in spring 2017, according to the report.

The investors said rising prescription drug costs are limiting access to the medications, which could lead to long-term challenges for the companies, reports WSJ.

"The health of the economy depends on the health of the people," said Donna Meyer, director of shareholder advocacy for ICCR member Mercy Investment Services of St. Louis. "We can't afford these escalating costs."

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