Pfizer puts price hikes on hold after Trump complains

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Here's why drug prices are so high

In a shocking turnaround, Pfizer stated Tuesday that it’ll defer elevating costs on a number of medication after heavy strain from President Donald Trump.

The pharmaceutical firm’s announcement got here after Trump tweeted that he spoke with Pfizer’s CEO and his personal Well being and Human Companies secretary, Alex Azar.

“Pfizer is rolling again value hikes, so American sufferers do not pay extra. We applaud Pfizer for this choice and hope different firms do the identical,” Trump tweeted.

The corporate stated it made the choice “following an in depth dialogue with President Trump.”

Pfizer, which hiked costs on practically three dozen medication on July 1, stated it’s going to give the administration extra time to work on its plan to overtake the pharmaceutical provide chain.

The costs will revert to what they had been earlier than July 1 “as quickly as technically potential,” based on Pfizer. The brand new costs will stay in place till the tip of the yr or till Trump’s plan goes into impact, whichever is sooner, the corporate stated.

The day earlier than, Pfizer careworn that it was solely “modifying” the costs of about 10% of its medicines and vaccines, together with lowering the price of some. It additionally famous that the majority insurers and sufferers do not pay the checklist value due to producer rebates.

The pharmaceutical trade has been underneath assault in recent times due to the ever-increasing value of medication. Trump has ramped up that strain. He promised to decrease drug costs throughout his presidential marketing campaign and after he took workplace.

Nevertheless, his administration did little till Could, when it rolled out its 44-page “blueprint” for growing competitors, lowering laws and altering the incentives for all gamers within the drug trade.

Whereas the plan comprises some concrete steps the administration can take to decrease costs, it was criticized by trade observers as containing extra concepts for consideration than actions to take. Additionally, specialists stated it did not do sufficient to rein within the checklist costs of medication.

Associated: Trump lays out his imaginative and prescient for decrease drug costs

Nonetheless, the president stored focusing his consideration on the difficulty. On the finish of Could, he stated massive drug firms would announce “voluntary large drops in costs” in two weeks. That did not occur.

However then on Monday, Trump took up the matter once more.

“Pfizer & others ought to be ashamed that they’ve raised drug costs for no motive,” he tweeted. “They’re merely making the most of the poor & others unable to defend themselves.”

Talking with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer on Tuesday, Azar referred to as the corporate’s choice “constructive, skilled [and] applicable.”

Pfizer is much from alone in elevating pharmaceutical costs this yr. Producers elevated the price of 104 medication in June and the primary two days of July alone, based on a Wells Fargo Securities report.

And whereas Pfizer agreed to briefly halt its July enhance, it didn’t roll again the worth hikes it carried out early this yr on well-liked drugs like Viagra, Lipitor, Xanax and Chantix.

The checklist value for Viagra, for instance, was $1,846 for 30 drugs final yr, however then Pfizer raised it 9.44% on January 1 to $2,021. The July 1 hike introduced it to $2,211. Tuesday’s transfer will take it again right down to $2,021.

Some trade specialists weren’t impressed with Pfizer’s transfer, because it solely briefly delayed the newest value hike. Calling it a “good gesture,” Stephen Schondelmeyer, a drug value skilled on the College of Minnesota, questioned whether or not the corporate would reverse earlier will increase or forgo future ones.

It additionally stays to be seen whether or not the transfer by Pfizer, one of many nation’s largest drug maker, will immediate its friends to do the identical.

CNNMoney (New York) First printed July 10, 2018: 7:34 PM ET



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