Pfizer freezes drug price hikes following Trump’s warnings

People walk past Pfizer World Headquarters in New York, New York, USA, Aug. 22, 2016. EPA-EFE/JUSTIN LANE

Washington DC, Jul 10 (efe-epa).- The pharmaceutical giant Pfizer announced on Tuesday that it would roll back the price increase of some 40 drugs after the president of the United States issued public warnings to the company on Monday.

Pfizer said in a statement that it would postpone the price increase to at least the beginning of 2019.

“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 said on his Twitter account.

Pfizer’s decision comes a day after Trump threatened the company with unspecified measures over the price increase of about 40 drugs announced a few days earlier.

“Pfizer & others should be ashamed that they have raised drug prices for no reason.” Trump wrote on Twitter.

“They are merely taking advantage of the poor & others unable to defend themselves, while at the same time giving bargain basement prices to other countries in Europe & elsewhere. We will respond!” he added.

Among the products affected by the price increase include Viagra, an erectile dysfunction medication; Xalkori, a lung cancer medicine and Lyrica, a medication used in treating neuropathic or nerve pain.

This is the second time the New York-based pharmaceutical company has raised prices of its products in 2018, while other companies, such as the French Sanofi group, have also increased their prices, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Trump, who is currently in Brussels for a NATO summit, also said he had spoken with Pfizer CEO Ian Read and Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar about his drug pricing proposal.

In May, Trump announced a plan to reduce drug costs, a strategy that aims to force other countries to raise their drug prices and reduce them inside the US.

However, his plan did not any impose a concrete price ceiling for drug manufacturers, which can charge customers in the US according to market demand as the US government does not regulate their prices like other countries.

According to data from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, each US citizen spent an average of $1,162 on pharmaceutical products in 2015, compared to $756 in Canada and $497 in the United Kingdom, where the governments impose measures to regulate the prices.