Pfizer CEO sets the record straight on drug pricing

Oct. 29, 2021

Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla admits the U.S. has a drug pricing issue, but thinks politicians and the public have it wrong.

“The issue of drug pricing is a real issue in the U.S.,” said Bourla during the tail end of a broader Yahoo Finance's All Markets Summit interview. “But it is not the issue that some people think and present.” (Question asked at 15-minute mark)

Currently, prescription drug prices only account for 12% of overall health care spending in the U.S. And, as Bourla pointed out, prices have been going down. Pfizer, for example, saw a 5% decrease in net pricing of medicines in the U.S. in the first half of 2021.

But while prices may have gone down, this hasn't benefited patients much. Bourla says there is disconnect between these price drops and out-of-pocket costs for American patients.

"Americans are paying for their medicines as if they don't have insurance — although they do have insurance," said Bourla. "And this needs to change."

But lower out-of-pocket prices means there will be higher costs that the health care system will have to absorb.

And Bourla says the pharma industry is willing to "pay our fair share, pay even more than our fair share" as long as it actually benefits patients struggling with out-of-pocket costs and does not fall into the "black hole of the federal budget."