In response to a probe by Dutch authorities, Pfizer (PFE) has agreed to end a controversial practice of reducing discounts to hospitals that cut back on purchases of a medicine, which regulators said unfairly discouraged health systems from switching to lower cost versions.
After the patent expired nearly seven years ago for the active ingredient in Enbrel, which is used to treat rheumatoid arthritis and other autoimmune disorders, a pair of rival medicines became available. Until then, Enbrel was the second most widely prescribed therapy for such maladies. Eventually, Pfizer began reducing discounts if hospital purchases of Enbrel declined more than a pre-specified percentage.
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