Donald Trump turned the rise in drug prices into one of his workhorses two years ago in the election campaign to get to the White House. Now the president of the United States takes up the criticism and attacks Pfizer directly for disassociating himself from the voluntary rebate he said the industry committed to a month ago and accuses him of taking advantage of the poorest.
“Pfizer and others should be ashamed of themselves for raising prices for no reason,” Trump lamented in a social networking message, “they are simply taking advantage of the poor and others unable to defend themselves. And he points out that they do this while negotiating lower prices in other markets, such as Europe. “We will respond,” he concludes.
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. We will respond!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) 9 juillet 2018
Trump responds forcefully to an article published last week by the Financial Times, in which he explained that the multinational pharmaceutical company raised prices by a hundred drugs. The financial publication noted that the average increase was 9%, which was the opposite of the president’s announcement of a general decline in the industry.
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The increase affected some of their most popular treatments, such as Viagra pills, which have seen a rise of nearly 20% this year, or Lipitor, an anti-cholesterol drug. Donald Trump’s energetic reaction led to the evaporation of earnings from pharmaceutical and biotech stocks. The White House has not yet given details of its plan to deal with the price hike.
Pfizer, for its part, already explained that it had lowered prices on several products and that the increases indicated’do not reflect what most patients and insurance companies pay’. Trump also attacked Merck Pharmaceuticals in the past after its CEO, Kenneth Frazier, decided to leave the group of businessmen advising the president after the racial incidents in Charlottesville.
Donald Trump chaired an event at the end of May in which he anticipated that pharmaceutical companies were going to cut drug prices “soon” and that they would do so in a “massive” way. But Health Secretary Alex Azar admitted at a Senate hearing that it wasn’t going to happen so quickly, although he promised that the president would not renege on his electoral promise.
Azar explained that companies are generally in favor of lowering prices on a voluntary basis. At the same time, however, they are concerned about the effects the adjustment may have on the intermediaries marketing their products and the response. Pharmaceutical companies usually adjust prices twice a year, once in January and once in July. The White House expected them to hold back this time.
The Department of Health has yet to specify what measures it can take to curb the escalation and what actions are in the hands of the U.S. Congress. Nor does it specify the timing of regulatory changes. The proximity of mid-term elections makes it more difficult for some provisions to prosper under pressure from these companies.