Pfizer to Defer Price Hikes Following Call With President Trump


President Donald Trump was able to claim a victory in the drug pricing wars after Pfizer announced it would walk back the price increase of 40 prescription medications announced earlier this month.

As Trump made his way to a European summit with NATO allies he spoke with Pfizer Chief Executive Officer Ian Read about the price increases and expressed his opposition to them. Trump and Read came to an agreement over the rollback of the price hikes, which the president then announced on Twitter.

Pfizer is rolling back price hikes, so American patients don’t pay more. We applaud Pfizer for this decision and hope other companies do the same. Great news for the American people,” Trump tweeted Tuesday.

Pfizer quickly issued a statement that confirmed the president’s announcement. The company said it will defer the price increases on those 40 drugs in order to “give the president an opportunity to work on his blueprint to strengthen the healthcare system and provide more access to patients.” Pfizer said it will return its pricing on those 40 drugs to the costs prior to the announcement. The company said the pricing on the drugs it lowered on July 1 will not change. Pfizer said it will defer the price hikes until the end of the year or whenever the president’s pricing blueprint goes into effect – whichever is sooner.

In a statement, Read said Pfizer shares the concern over affordable access to medications. He said the most “fundamental way” the biopharmaceutical industry can create value is through the discovery of innovative medications that help patients. Read added that his company has committed $5 billion to expand its manufacturing presence in the United States – something that Trump has been seeking from the industry as a whole.

Pfizer’s change came one day after the president focused his Twitter ire at the company for the July 1 price hikes. On Monday Trump said that Pfizer “should be ashamed” that it increased the price of its medications “for no reason.”

On July 1 the company increased the price of a number of its prescription medications by nearly 10 percent. Drugs that saw a price hike (although temporarily) include cancer treatment Xalkori, depression drug Zoloft and cholesterol drug Lipitor, which all saw price increases of 9.4 percent. The anti-smoking drug Chantix saw a price increase of 7 percent. 

Trump made drug pricing a central point of his 2016 presidential campaign. He most famously claimed that pharmaceutical companies are “getting away with murder” when it comes to the prices the companies charge for medication.

Earlier this year Trump outlined a plan to reform drug pricing in a strategy called “American Patients First.”

While Trump has aimed his Twitter account at Pfizer, it will remain to be seen if he turns his attention to other pharma companies that have also recently increased prices. This week Celgene raised the price of two of its most popular drugs, Revlimid and Pomalyst by 5 percent. Last week Sanofi increased the costs of eczema drug Dupixent by 3 percent.

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