Pfizer delays drug price hikes after talking with Trump

A Pfizer building in Kalamazoo County

A Pfizer building in Kalamazoo County

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.

Although many drug makers traditionally raise prices mid-year, Pfizer stood out last week for two reasons - the price hikes were for dozens of drugs and the actual increases were particularly large. It was followed by other pharma companies.

Trump on Tuesday praised Read for his decision to delay the price increases.

The price rollback will take place "as soon as technically possible", according to Pfizer.

Trump in a tweet on Tuesday said that Pfizer had agreed to roll back drug price hikes after he and U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar spoke with Pfizer Chief Executive Officer Ian Read.

The Pfizer price hikes, most of which were more than 9 percent, embarrassed Trump and came amid an ongoing push by his administration to find a solution to rising drug prices.

If you are serious about this issue, tell your Republican pals in Congress to pass bills requiring Medicare to negotiate drug prices and enabling the importation of safe, low-priced drugs from Canada and other countries.

Pfizer raised list prices on around 40 medicines earlier this month. "They are merely taking advantage of the poor & others unable to defend themselves".

Azar responded to Trump's tweet on Monday with a declaration that "change is coming to drug pricing, whether painful or not for pharmaceutical companies", while offering no new plans to force such changes. "Importantly, list prices do not reflect what most patients or insurance companies pay", the company said. Still, Trump predicted it would lead, within weeks, to a major reduction in drug prices.

The Financial Times reported Pfizer dropped prices on five medications, but raised prices on 100 medicines. For example, in August a year ago he criticized Merck & Co., saying the company was shipping jobs outside of the US while raising prices.

"Pfizer shares the President's concern for patients and commitment to providing affordable access to the medicines they need", said Reid.

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