Pfizer rolls back drug price hikes after Trump talks

Marco Green
July 12, 2018

President Donald Trump criticized Pfizer and other pharmaceutical companies for raising prices in a tweet Monday afternoon, vowing that the government would respond.

FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Donald Trump speaks with the news media before boarding Marine One for travel to Europe from the White House, in Washington, U.S., July 10, 2018.

The company's price hikes on 100 products went into effect on July 1.

In an unexpected about face, Pfizer agreed to defer substantial price hikes that went into effect just last week on more than 40 medicines after its chief executive met with President Trump, who is under increasing pressure to take action to lower the cost of prescription drugs. During his presidential campaign, he promised lower United States drug costs.

Mid-year drug price increases are a common industry practice that has not abated, despite the Trump administration's efforts.

The rollback came a day after Trump took aim at Pfizer and other US drugmakers for raising prices on some of their medicines, saying in a tweet that they "should be ashamed" and that his administration would respond.

Trump on Tuesday praised Read for his decision to delay the price increases. Those include Viagra, cholesterol drug Lipitor and arthritis treatment Xeljanz, according to Wells Fargo. "Importantly, list prices do not reflect what most patients or insurance companies pay", the company said. For example, in August a year ago he criticized Merck & Co., saying the company was shipping jobs outside of the US while raising prices. The drug maker referred to an "extensive discussion" with Trump and explained the deferral is taking place to give him "an opportunity to work on his blueprint to strengthen the health care system and provide more access for patients".

"I can imagine [Trump] is going to be very interested in the next company that takes a price increase not justified by inflation or change in clinical benefit", Azar said during the rollout of the pricing blueprint in May.

Dean Mastrojohn, a Pfizer spokesman, said the company's "price list remains unchanged for the majority of our medicines".

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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