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Pfizer delays price hikes after discussion with Trump

It will defer price increases that went into effect on July 1 until the end of the year or until Trump's drug pricing blueprint goes into effect

Washington

PFIZER Inc said on Tuesday that it was deferring drug price increases for no more than six months after the company's chief executive officer had an extensive conversation with US President Donald Trump.

Pfizer said that 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 that it would return drug prices to their pre-July 1 levels as soon as technically possible.

In a tweet on Tuesday, Mr Trump said that Pfizer had agreed to roll back drug price hikes after he and US Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar spoke with Pfizer chief executive officer Ian Read.

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"We applaud Pfizer for this decision and hope other companies do the same," Mr Trump tweeted.

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

Pharmaceutical company shares rose after Mr 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 that drugmakers may offer. On Monday, Mr Trump took aim at Pfizer and other US drugmakers after they raised prices on some of their medicines on July 1, saying that 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," Mr Azar said on CNN on Tuesday. REUTERS

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