President Donald Trump on Monday said Pfizer and other pharmaceutical companies “should be ashamed” of themselves for raising drug prices and vowed a government response, just two months after saying he had put forward a plan to “derail the gravy train.”
Trump’s comments, which came in a Twitter post, appeared to be in response to a Financial Times report that showed that Pfizer had raised prices on roughly 100 drugs. Trump had promised to lower drug prices as part of his 2016 campaign, and he threatened to use the government’s clout to negotiate lower prices. He opted against taking the step earlier in 2018, opting instead to release ideas in a 44-page document that his advisers argued could eventually lower prices if implemented.
No concrete steps were taken, but Trump predicted that the industry would respond anyway and that there would be “voluntary, massive drops in prices” within two weeks. Such a reduction never took place, and companies instead decided to raise prices on a number of drugs. This prompted Trump’s response.
Wells Fargo Securities issued a report this month that found that Pfizer raised prices on 41 drug products on July 1 and lowered prices on five products. Across the industry, Wells Fargo found, companies hiked drug prices on 63 products and lowered prices on 64 products in June.
Dean Mastrojohn, a Pfizer spokesman, said the company’s “price list remains unchanged for the majority of our medicines.” He said the company was “modifying prices” for roughly 10 percent of its 400 medicines and vaccines, and that “list prices do not reflect what most patients or insurance companies pay.”
Much of Trump’s economic agenda has called for sweeping tax cuts and deregulation that he says will help businesses in ways that create benefits for consumers.