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Pfizer says delaying drug price hikes after Trump conversation

12 July 2018

Pfizer chief executive Ian Read said late Tuesday his company would delay increasing the prices on dozens of drug products after President Trump publicly berated the firm one day earlier.

"Just talked with Pfizer CEO and [U.S. Department of Health Secretary Alex Azar] on our drug pricing blueprint".

The criticism comes after media coverage of Pfizer including a Wall Street Journal story that said the company raised the list prices for over 40 of its prescription drugs. "And there's very little bidding on drugs", Trump said during an event at Trump Tower in NY.

Although Trump had vowed to take on the pharmaceutical industry during his race to the Oval Office, as Bloomberg noted Monday, "so far his most-noticed efforts have been using Twitter and stump speeches to call out pharmaceutical companies, rather than enacting major new policies".

On Monday, Trump tweeted harsh criticism of the company for raising prices.

At the time, many U.S. companies were anxious about what might happen if Trump made a decision to lead a charge against their industry, and stocks for pharmaceutical companies fell that day. Those include Viagra, cholesterol drug Lipitor and arthritis treatment Xeljanz, according to Wells Fargo.

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As Bloomberg put it, "Five weeks ago, Trump said that drugmakers would announce "voluntary, massive" cuts in drug prices in two weeks".

Trump rolled out a blueprint in May on how his administration planned to lower drug prices.

Trump in May released a 44-page document that contained a list of ideas on ways to lower drug prices, but it did not contain any concrete actions that the White House would pursue. For example, in August previous year he criticized Merck & Co., saying the company was shipping jobs outside of the USA while raising prices.

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

"I commend Pfizer for its constructive and professional approach, and its desire to work with President Trump to be part of the solution and not part of the problem", he said in a statement.

Pfizer says delaying drug price hikes after Trump conversation