Wednesday, 18 July, 2018

Pfizer says delaying drug price hikes after Trump conversation

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Ginger Lawrence | 12 July, 2018, 16:02

The company's price hikes for a number of drugs went into effect on July 1.

A tweet by US President Donald Trump slamming Pfizer and other pharma companies for raising prices of drugs at will sent Indian pharma shares reeling on Tuesday morning.

Pfizer said it would defer price increases that went into effect on July 1 until the end of the year or until the president's drug pricing blueprint goes into effect - whichever is sooner.

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. "And there's very little bidding on drugs", Trump said during an event at Trump Tower in NY.

In a statement, Pfizer said price changes affected a small slice of their business and that many consumers will feel no financial pain, due to rebates in the pharmaceutical supply chain. "They are merely taking advantage of the poor & others unable to defend themselves". "Pfizer is rolling back price hikes, so American patients don't pay more", Trump wrote on Twitter. For example, in August previous year he criticized Merck & Co., saying the company was shipping jobs outside of the USA while raising prices.

Trump administration announces $US200 billion in extra China tariffs
China gave no details, but it has plenty of options to retaliate that could extend beyond additional tariffs on U.S. imports. US Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch described the move was "reckless".

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. Later that month, Trump claimed the report would led to "voluntary massive drops in prices", says Reuters, but no such drops ever came.

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

The agreement is a bit of egg-on-the-face for Read, but he may accomplish one thing for the moment: remove some of the pressure on the pharmaceutical industry as a whole to cut prices., since Trump appeared to be ratcheting up the pressure on companies.

"We are encouraged that the President recognizes the value our industry brings to society and our ability to fulfill our mission to discover and bring innovative new medicines to patients", said Reid.