Trump Criticizes Pfizer for Raising Drug Prices

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

Wells Fargo Securities issued a report this month that found that Pfizer raised prices on 41 drug products on July 1 and lowered prices on five products.

The return of the price to its pre-July 1 was first broadcast by Trump in a tweet, in which he characterized it as "rolling back price hikes, so American patients don't pay more".

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.

Although many drug makers traditionally raise prices mid-year, Pfizer stood out last week for two reasons - the price hikes were for dozens of drugs and the actual increases were particularly large. 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'". His comments appear to be motivated by a Financial Times piece stating that Pfizer raised their prices on 100 different drugs at the start of the 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.


Dean Mastrojohn, a Pfizer spokesman, told the Washington Post that the company's "price list remains unchanged for the majority of our medicines".

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. Still, Trump predicted it would lead, within weeks, to a major reduction in drug prices. It was the company's second price hike this year.

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

"Pfizer shares the President's concern for patients and commitment to providing affordable access to the medicines they need", Read said in a statement.

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