Fri, Jul 13, 2018 - Page 10 News List

Pfizer reverses some price hikes after Trump tweet

‘ASHAMED’:The president threatened action against drug firms for boosting costs, prompting Pfizer to reverse price increases that took effect on July 1

AFP, NEW YORK

Pfizer Inc has reversed price increases on some drugs following White House pressure and the US drugmaker on Wednesday pledged to decide soon whether to sell its consumer drugs business.

A day after US President Donald Trump threatened action on drug prices and said on Twitter drug companies should be “ashamed” for boosting costs, the pharmaceutical giant said it would reverse price increases that took effect on July 1.

In a news release late on Tuesday, Pfizer said drug prices would return to their levels prior to July 1 and would stay at that price until the end of the year, or until Trump enacts a “blueprint” on drug prices.

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

A Pfizer spokeswoman said the price hikes that have now been reversed affected about 40 medicines and included a number of instances in which prices were dropped.

The changes were in the “low single digits” and in some cases would not have affected the prices consumers pay because of rebates, the spokeswoman added.

The Trump administration in May outlined a plan for lower drug prices ,but critics have said it does not go far enough.

Share prices of leading pharmaceutical companies rose the day the plan was announced, suggesting investors did not view the changes as a significant worry to industry profits.

Pfizer’s stock price dipped 0.4 percent to US$37.26 in afternoon trading on Wednesday, while other leading drugmakers — including Merck Co and Bristol-Myers Squibb Co — were off by similar amounts.

Pfizer also announced it would reorganize the company into three divisions instead of two: innovative medicines, established medicines for legacy and generic products, and consumer healthcare, which is to include over-the-counter drugs.

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