Pfizer ups drug prices

Industry analysts say average wholesale prices for Pfizer drugs such as Lipitor and Celebrex went up by more than 5%, Reuters reported. A Bear Stearns analyst quoted in the report said the price hike, effective Jan. 1, was somewhat more aggressive than price increases taken in each of the previous three years. He estimated the rise at 5.2%; a Merrill Lynch analyst pegged it at 5.6%. While cholesterol drug Lipitor and arthritis therapy Celebrex were included in the increase, newer drugs Chantix (smoking cessation) and Exubera (diabetes) were not. The 5% boost surprised some analysts, who said they had anticipated a lesser increase in light of political scrutiny over drug pricing expected this year. However, one analyst added, Pfizer may have raised prices sharply to make good on its prediction that 2007 revenue will match that seen last year.

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