French drugmaker Sanofi has pledged to put a lid on its US drug-price increases in the coming year, as the pharmaceutical industry grapples with growing scrutiny over how much it charges for its products.

The company’s chief executive, Olivier Brandicourt, said in a statement on Tuesday that the company would keep its drug-price increases at or below the national health expenditures growth projection, an independent standard benchmark for healthcare inflation.

That would limit drug-price rises for any given product to about 5.4 per cent in 2017, Mr Brandicourt said. In case there is a “sound reason for a higher increase”, Sanofi will publicly release its rationale for the move, he added.

It will also begin releasing aggregate gross and net price increases in the US, starting with 2016 figures — across its US portfolio, the aggregate price increase compared to a year earlier was 4 per cent, while average aggregate net pricing fell 2.1 per cent, the company said.

Mr Brandicourt said:

I believe Sanofi’s pricing principles are another important step in increasing transparency and understanding of the biopharmaceutical ecosystem. I hope they will set a standard for others to follow, to ensure access and affordability for the patients we serve.

US lawmakers have set their sights over the past year on rising drug prices, with rival drugmakers like Mylan — the maker of EpiPen — facing criticism over how much patients must spend on potentially life-saving products. Sanofi’s US-listed shares were up 0.2 per cent in early Tuesday trading.

Sanofi’s US products include sleep drug Ambien and the blood-thinner Plavix.

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