Published: Thu, July 12, 2018
Finance | By Claude Patterson

Donald Trump lashes out at drug company for price hikes

Donald Trump lashes out at drug company for price hikes

The move was announced on Tuesday evening by Trump in a tweet, in which he said he had talked with Pfizer chief executive Ian Read and Alex Azar, secretary of Health and Human Services, to discuss the "blueprint" for tackling rising drug prices.

President Donald Trump says pharmaceutical company Pfizer is "rolling back price hikes, so American patients don't pay more".

The price rollback will take place "as soon as technically possible", according to Pfizer. "Great news for the American people", Trump wrote.

The company's price hikes on 100 products went into effect on July 1. But on Monday, even after Trump singled out Pfizer by name and vowed a response, the company's investors appeared to mostly shrug it off.

Trump rolled out a blueprint in May that laid out how the administration planned to lower drug prices, a top 2016 presidential campaign promise. Pfizer was followed by other pharma companies.

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. The list price hikes don't factor in discounts that companies may provide to some insurance companies and patients. For example, a number of Democrats in Congress have complained that large companies have used big savings from last year's tax cuts to buy back stock in a way that benefits shareholders, rather than use the money to boost wages or cut prices. Still, Trump predicted it would lead, within weeks, to a major reduction in drug prices. While prices on many drugs were increased, there were also decreases on a few of their products.

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.

Nonetheless, Mr. Trump's tweet suggests he might begin calling out drug companies individually, akin to his attacks on Harley-Davidson over his tariff war.

"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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