US President Trump singles out Pfizer in latest criticism over drug pricing in US

US President Donald Trump posted a message on Twitter Monday saying Pfizer and unspecified "others" ought to be "ashamed that they have raised drug prices for no reason." He suggested the companies are "taking advantage" of underprivileged and vulnerable patients in the US, while offering "bargain basement prices" to countries in Europe and elsewhere. The President also warned that "we will respond," but did not specify how. 

report last week said Pfizer raised the prices on 100 of its products in the US, including Viagra (sildenafil), with most of the increases just over 9 percent. According to analysts at Morgan Stanley, the company was one of four drugmakers that have completed two rounds of price increases in 2018. 

Pfizer spokeswoman Sally Beatty noted "the list price remains unchanged for the majority of our medicines," adding that the company is "modifying prices for approximately 10 percent of [our products], including some instances where we're decreasing the price." 

Commenting on the news, Wells Fargo David Maris said pharmaceutical companies "are among the most profitable in the US, but something has got to give." He added "now it's time for the industry to figure out a way to…pay lower discounts and rebates and get those savings to consumers, but somehow the consumer has to get some relief. I think that's what generated the President's tweet today."

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At the end of May, Trump indicated that pharmaceutical companies would announce "voluntary massive" price cuts in the coming weeks without providing specifics. Prior to that, he had unveiled plans to tackle high prescription drug prices, in part by boosting competition for medicines and reducing patients' out-of-pocket expenses. 

Trump, who also criticised Merck & Co. last year over price hikes, previously claimed that the pharmaceutical industry was "getting away with murder" when it comes to drug prices. Meanwhile, FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb has suggested that the agency must also play a role in helping to lower drug costs, including ensuring that the "generic drug process isn't being inappropriately gamed to delay competition."

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