Tough Pill to Swallow? Pfizer Trumped On Price Hike …

A day after President Trump lambasted Pfizer on a previously announced July 1 price hike on three dozen drugs, the pharmaceutical company backed down following what  the company CEO described as an “extensive discussion” with the president.

Trump said he spoke with Ian Read, the head of Pfizer, and the Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar and the drug company decided it was  “rolling back price hikes” that Pfizer already put in place.

Trump has been fairly consistent on admonishing the pharmaceutical drug-makers on their extravagant pricing. For the administration, its blueprint to reduce prescription drug costs is one of its hallmark efforts. Among other things, the administration  is seeking a “more competitive pharmaceutical marketplace” and “bring down out-of-pocket costs for Americans, Trump’s plan states.  For critics, the blueprint has been too loosely defined, and not tough enough.

In the meeting with the Pfizer chairman and CEO, the blueprint apparently took center stage.

“Just talked with Pfizer CEO and @SecAzar on our drug pricing blueprint,” Trump tweeted. “Pfizer is rolling back price hikes, so American patients don’t pay any more.”

“We applaud Pfizer for this decision and hope other companies do the same,” he added in the @realDonaldTrump tweet. “Great news for the American people.”

A day earlier, Trump scolded the company, saying it 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. We will respond!….” Trump tweeted.

After the meeting with Trump today,  Pfizer ‘s  Read said the company would “defer the company’s price increases that were effective on July 1.” That would give the president “an opportunity to work on his blueprint to strengthen the healthcare system and provide more access for patients,” Read said.

The company said it will maintain prices on three dozen drugs to their pre-July 1 levels as soon as technically possible. And, the prices will stay in place until the president’s blueprint goes into effect or the end of the year – whichever is sooner.

“Pfizer shares the President’s concern for patients and commitment to providing affordable access to the medicines they need,” said  Read.

— Joe Cantlupe


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