Pfizer says delaying drug price hikes after Trump conversation

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Pfizer Inc (PFE.N) said on Tuesday it was deferring drug price increases for no more than six months after the company’s chief executive officer had an extensive conversation with U.S. President Donald Trump.

FILE PHOTO: The Pfizer logo is seen at their world headquarters in Manhattan, New York, U.S., August 1, 2016. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly

Pfizer said it would defer price increases that went into effect on July 1 until the end of the year or until the president’s drug pricing blueprint goes into effect – whichever is sooner. The company said it would return drug prices to their pre-July 1 levels as soon as technically possible.

FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Donald Trump speaks with the news media before boarding Marine One for travel to Europe from the White House, in Washington, U.S., July 10, 2018. REUTERS/Leah Millis

Trump in a tweet on Tuesday said that Pfizer had agreed to roll back drug price hikes after he and U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar spoke with Pfizer Chief Executive Officer Ian Read.

“We applaud Pfizer for this decision and hope other companies do the same,” Trump said in a tweet.

Trump rolled out a blueprint in May that laid out how the administration planned to lower drug prices, a top 2016 presidential campaign promise. Trump had said in May that some drug companies would announce “voluntary, massive” price decreases in two weeks, but none have materialized yet.

Pharmaceutical company shares rose after Trump unveiled his drug pricing blueprint and the administration has not yet taken serious action to lower prices.

Pfizer raised list prices on around 40 medicines earlier this month. Those include Viagra, cholesterol drug Lipitor and arthritis treatment Xeljanz, according to Wells Fargo. List prices do not include rebates and discounts drugmakers may offer.

On Monday, Trump took aim at Pfizer and other U.S. drugmakers after they raised prices on some of their medicines on July 1, saying his administration would respond.

“The increases must stop and it shows a constructive professional appropriate approach by Pfizer in interacting with the government and the president to be part of the solution and not part of the problem,” Azar said on CNN on Tuesday.

Reporting by Yasmeen Abutaleb and Michael Erman; Additional reporting by Eric Walsh; Editing by Leslie Adler and Lisa Shumaker

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