The great price freeze of 2018? Trump thanks pharma

By Flora Southey

- Last updated on GMT

(Image: Getty/KenDrysdale)
(Image: Getty/KenDrysdale)

Related tags Trump Fda Pfizer Novartis Bayer

US President Trump has again taken to social media to comment on drug rates, publicly acknowledging Novartis and Pfizer for freezing list prices.

Trump’s latest pharma-focused tweet reads: “Thank you to Novartis for not increasing your prices on prescription drugs. Likewise to Pfizer.

“We are making a big push to actually reduce the prices, maybe substantially, on prescription drugs.”

The comment follows a disparaging tweet​ posted by the US president on July 9, in which he condemned Pfizer for a planned list price hike: “Pfizer & others should be ashamed that they have raised drug prices for no reason.

“They are merely taking advantage of the poor & others unable to defend themselves, while at the same time giving bargain basement prices to other countries in Europe & elsewhere.”

The following day, Pfizer announced CEO Ian Read had partaken in “an extensive discussion” ​with Trump. Pfizer “will defer the company’s price increases that were effective on July 1 to give the president an opportunity to work on his blueprint to strengthen the healthcare system and provide more access for patients,” ​the company said in a statement​.

“The company will return these prices to their pre-July 1 levels as soon as technically possible, and the prices will remain in effect until the earlier of when the president’s blueprint goes into effect or the end of the year – whichever is sooner,” ​the firm added.

Novartis confirmed its decision to freeze list prices in June this year: “Our US leadership made the business decision not to take price increases that were previously planned for the third quarter,” ​a spokesperson told us.

“Many factors influence our decisions to change product prices for our US portfolio and it is not uncommon for us to adjust plans for price changes.

“We continue to engage in policy discussions to support innovative pricing models that improve quality, reduce waste and deliver better patient outcomes while rewarding research and development,” ​we were told.

Bayer has also made a commitment to maintain its prescription medicine prices for the remainder of 2018.

“We’ve let [US department of health and human services] secretary Azar personally know of this decision,” ​a Bayer spokesperson told us.

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