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Despite claims that prices for new medicines are generally shaped by R&D costs, initial pricing decisions in the U.S. for multiple sclerosis drugs have been driven by other factors, especially what competitors are doing, according to four executives whose insights were described in a new paper.

Besides competition, the executives also cited overall corporate growth objectives, the ability to set U.S. prices higher than in other countries, and distortions caused by the complicated rebate system used to establish insurance reimbursement, the researchers reported in Neurology.


“Contrary to the contention by the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America that prices need to be sufficiently high to recover research and development costs, our participants did not uniformly cite this as the primary factor involved in initial price setting and subsequent price increases” for multiple sclerosis medicines, the researchers wrote.

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