Pfizer backtracks on recent drug price increases following talks with Trump

Pfizer announced Tuesday that following an "extensive discussion" with US President Donald Trump, the company has decided to "defer" price increases on certain drugs that came into effect on July 1. The move, which comes a day after Trump took aim at Pfizer and others for raising prices on their prescription products, is meant "to give the President an opportunity to work on his blueprint to strengthen the healthcare system and provide more access for patients," Pfizer said. 

In May, Trump outlined a series of initiatives aimed at tackling high drug prices in the US, including increasing competition in the prescription medicine market and curbing patients' out-of-pocket costs. 

Pfizer said the recently raised prices will be rolled back to what they were prior to July 1 and will remain that way until the blueprint goes into effect or until the end of this year, "whichever is sooner." Meanwhile, any price cuts that Pfizer introduced this month on products will remain in effect. 

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CEO Ian Read stated that "Pfizer shares the President's concern for patients and commitment to providing affordable access to the medicines they need." He added "we have entered an exciting new era with scientific advances that will result in future breakthroughs and cures. This highly complex and important work also generates hundreds of thousands of highly skilled jobs across the US." Read also pointed out that Pfizer recently committed $5 billion of capital to expand its manufacturing capabilities in the country. 

Meanwhile, in response to Pfizer's announcement Trump tweeted "we applaud Pfizer for this decision and hope other companies do the same."

In related news on Tuesday, Bloomberg reported that Novartis, Gilead Sciences, Roche and Novo Nordisk have notified California health plans in recent weeks that they are rescinding or reducing previously announced price increases on at least 10 drugs. The moves come after California introduced legislation earlier this year that obliges drugmakers to give insurers, governments and drug purchasers advance notice of large price increases. 

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