Trump Versus Pharmaceuticals

On Monday, President Trump denounced Pfizer and other pharmaceutical companies after they raised drug prices and promised a government response in return.

President Trump had promised lower drug prices during his 2016 campaign, and he threatened to use the government’s clout to negotiate lower prices. Trump predicted that there would be “voluntary, massive drops in prices” within two weeks. However, no reductions ever took place and the pharmaceutical companies decided to raise prices on a number of drugs.

In response, President Trump stated in a tweet, “Pfizer and others should be ashamed that they raised drug prices for no reason. They are merely taking advantage of the poor and others unable to defend themselves, while at the same time giving bargain basement prices to other countries in Europe and elsewhere. We will respond!” This tweet was in response to a Financial Times report that claimed that Pfizer had raised prices on nearly 100 drugs.

Wells Fargo Securities found that Pfizer raised prices on 41 drug products on July 1st and lowered prices on five products. Across the pharmaceutical industry, Wells Fargo discovered that companies increased drug prices on 63 products, while lowering prices on 64 products in June.

Dean Mastrojohn, a Pfizer spokesman, claimed that the company’s “price list remains unchanged for the majority of our medicines.” He also claimed that the company was changing prices for about 40 of its 400 medicines and vaccines and that the “list prices do not reflect what most patients or insurances companies pay.”

President Trump has always had a grudge with the pharmaceutical industry, but so far, he has done very little to investigate these companies since taking office. Nine days before he became President last year, he claimed that he wanted to pursue the creation of a bidding process for drugs in a way that would push prices down.

He also stated during an event at Trump Tower in New York, “Pharma has a lot of lobbies, a lot of lobbyists and a lot of power. And there’s very little bidding in drugs. We’re the largest buyer of drugs in the world, and yet we don’t bid properly.”

When this increase in prices in drugs happened, many U.S. companies were worried about the outcome of what might happen after Trump decides to lead a charge against the pharmaceutical industry, and stocks for these companies dropped the same day. However, even when Trump called out Pfizer by name and promised a government response, the company just brushed if off as if nothing happened.

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