Oh, no we aren’t! AbbVie says it isn’t rethinking pricing pledge at all

Geoffrey Porges, Leerink

Late last week Leerink’s Geoffrey Porges caused quite a stir when he outlined a recent sit-down with the top execs at AbbVie. With the brouhaha over drug pricing at the beginning of the year settling down, Porges said CEO Rick Gonzalez and CFO Bill Chase sounded like they were beginning to waffle over their pledge to limit price hikes on Humira to the single digits, once a year — breaking from a steady drive of price increases that has made Humira into a massive blockbuster.

Gonzalez and Chase are intent on making Humor a $20 billion annual earner, and maybe their earlier “commitment applies only to 2017 and could be revisited in 2018,” the prominent analyst wrote.

The story began to make the rounds, and now AbbVie execs want you to know they aren’t thinking about anything different, for 2018 anyway.

Richard Gonzalez

Their statement to StreetInsider:

Statements made by AbbVie management about drug pricing have been incorrectly characterized in multiple sources. We evaluate specific pricing decisions on an annual basis, with careful consideration of a variety of factors. For 2018, AbbVie will take one single digit price increase and will continue to act responsibly with respect to drug pricing.

Pricing restraint became all the rage at the end of last year as the controversy over drug prices — fed by some cases of clear price gouging — raged during the election year. We’ll have to see whether the change of heart is permanent, or a temporary retreat in the wake of public outrage.

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Research Scientist - Immunology
Recursion Pharmaceuticals Salt Lake City, UT
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Atlas Venture Cambridge, MA

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