Tuesday, 25 September, 2018

Merck lowers drug prices after Trump criticizes industry

A sign of Novartis on the top of a building at the company's campus in Basel on Oct. 27 2015 A sign of Novartis on the top of a building at the company's campus in Basel on Oct. 27 2015
Anna Jefferson | 22 July, 2018, 01:40

President Donald Trump thanked drug makers Novartis and Pfizer for delaying drug price increases until at least the end of the year, giving Trump a chance to roll out his plan to reduce drug prices.

"We thought that was prudent given the dynamic environment that we're now in. A lot of discussions around how to shape policy, and of course, our net prices overall are flat-to-declining in the U.S. in any case", added Narasimhan.

Last week, Pfizer chief executive Ian Read said his company would delay increasing the prices of dozens of drug products after Trump publicly berated the firm one day earlier.

Pfizer then announced it would defer the increases no later than January 1, or when the administration's "blueprint" on drug prices takes effect, whichever comes first. But the companies have garnered praise from Trump, who has assumed bragging rights for being successful in lowering drug prices. Many critics have said it does not go far enough, however, Narasimhan said Novartis was "very positive on the blueprint" the president has put forward on prices. Trump has promised to lower drug prices since the campaign and as is his style, has resorted to calling out companies by name on Twitter after reports of price increases. "Likewise to Pfizer. We are making a big push to actually reduce the prices, maybe substantially, on prescription drugs". He also threatened that the administration would "respond".

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As for the other six products that Merck said it would take a haircut on, the products are so insignificant that Merck does not even break out sales of the drugs in its Securities and Exchange Commission filings.

Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America spent $5.54 million between April and June, down 7.7 percent from the same period a year ago, according to disclosures released by the federal government on Friday.

On Wednesday, Azar submitted a proposal to the White House that would cut rebates offered to insurers and pharmacy-benefit managers, a measure drug companies have not backed.

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