Glaxo and ICI rapped over prices

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The Independent Online
GLAXO and ICI's American subsidiaries have been criticised in a US Senate report for increasing drug prices faster than inflation despite promises to the contrary.

In 1992 the US drug inflation rate was 6.4 per cent, four times the general inflation rate of 1.5 per cent, the report said.

It claimed that eight of the top 31 US drug manufacturers - Glaxo, ICI-Stuart, Merck, Pfizer, Marion Merrell-Dow, Hoffman La Roche, Dupont-Merck and Sterling Winthrop - increased their prices by more than three times the inflation rate.

Moreover, 19 of the top 31 increased out-patient prices at double the inflation rate, it said.

But many of the companies challenged the basis on which the study's calculations were made. A spokesman for Glaxo said it had ignored total sales and looked only at individual drugs.

The overall increase in the price of all Glaxo product lines in the financial year to the end of June 1992 was 1.8 per cent, well below the general rate of inflation for the same period, which had been around 3 per cent.

Pharmaceutical company shares have been hit in recent months because of fears about greater control of drug prices - about dollars 67bn, or 10 per cent of the total 1990 US health care bill was spent on drugs.

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