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    Pharmaceutical industry could face lower prices

    Pharmaceutical powerhouse Pfizer is reportedly in talks to acquire rival drug maker Wyeth. What could the deal mean for the medication you buy? WHYY’s Elizabeth Fiedler reports.

    Pharmaceutical powerhouse Pfizer is reportedly in talks to acquire rival drug maker Wyeth. What could the deal mean for the medication you buy? WHYY’s Elizabeth Fiedler reports.

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    The Pfizer-Wyeth talks are a result of big picture factors affecting the pharmaceutical industry, as well as one moment on the horizon that could hit Pfizer particularly hard.

    That is according to Robert Field, Chair of the Department of Health Policy and Public Health at University of the Sciences in Philadelphia. He says drug companies want to grow larger and stronger, and offer a greater range of products, so they’ll be in a better position to negotiate drug prices.

    Field: The HMOs are becoming more aggressive and there’s been a lot more push back over pricing. If as most people expect, the government begins negotiating prices directly, that environment is going to be orders of magnitude more difficult for the drug companies.

    Field says Pfizer also wants to fill its pipeline with new drugs coming onto the market, as some of its older drugs like Lipitor lose patent protection, opening them to competition with generics. Big Pharma companies are already laying-off employees. Field says the Pfizer-Wyeth deal could signal even more cuts.

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