President Trump Says Pfizer Has Agreed to Reverse Drug 'Price Hikes'

Pfizer Inc. Lyrica pills sit in a bottle at a pharmacy in Princeton Illinois U.S. on Monday Oct. 23 2017.        , Daniel Acker  Bloomberg

Pfizer moved on July 1 to raise the prices on 41 drug products.

On Tuesday, Trump said in a tweet that Pfizer had agreed to roll back drug price hikes after he and U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar spoke with the company's CEO, Ian Read. Across the industry, Wells Fargo found, companies rose drug prices on 63 products and lowered prices on 64 products in June.

Trump's comments, which came in a Twitter post, appeared to be in response to a Financial Times report that showed that Pfizer had raised prices on roughly 100 drugs.

At the time, many United States companies were anxious about what might happen if Trump chose to lead a charge against their industry, and stocks for pharmaceutical companies fell that day.

The Trump administration released a blueprint last May to lower the list prices and out-of-pocket costs associated with prescription drugs. As Common Dreams reported, "rather than allowing the government to negotiate lower drug prices-a proposal backed by 92 percent of Americans-Trump's plan vaguely promises to "encourage innovation" in the private sector while pursuing "reforms" to Medicare to promote 'greater flexibility'".

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Pfizer raised list prices on around 40 medicines earlier this month.

"They (pharma companies) are merely taking advantage of the poor and others unable to defend themselves, while at the same time giving bargain basement prices to other countries in Europe & elsewhere", he said. For example, in August past year he criticized Merck & Co., saying the company was shipping jobs outside of the US while raising prices. Still, Trump predicted it would lead, within weeks, to a major reduction in drug prices. Prices will remain in effect until the Trump blueprint takes effect or the end of 2018, whichever comes first.

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

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

"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.

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