Merck lowers drug prices after Trump criticizes industry

The Merck logo is seen at a gate to the Merck & Co campus in Linden New Jersey U.S

The Merck logo is seen at a gate to the Merck & Co campus in Linden New Jersey U.S

Novartis' position about this year's price increase has been announced during the Q2 2018 earnings call transmitted as a live audio webcast.

In response to the heated political rhetoric over the cost of prescription drugs, Novartis has decided not to raise prices on its medicines in the US for the rest of 2018.

Last week, Pfizer reversed price hikes on some drugs in the United States after Trump threatened action and said on Twitter that drug companies should be "ashamed" for boosting costs.

The move by Merck comes after Pfizer announced price hikes for almost three dozen drugs only to reverse course amid public pressure from President Donald Trump.

They discussed the Administration's "ongoing commitment to lowering prescription drug prices for American patients", Gidley said.

"We thought that was prudent given the dynamic environment that we're now in. Likewise to Pfizer. We are making a big push to actually reduce the prices, maybe substantially, on prescription drugs", Trump said in a tweet.

Pfizer Inc., on the other hand, spent $1.94 million on Washington lobbying in the second quarter, a 2.1 percent increase in lobbying spending since previous year.

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In May, the Trump administration outlined a plan for lower prices, but critics have said it did not go far enough.

Last night also Merck & Co responded to the president's appeal.

As for the other six products that Merck said it would take a haircut on, the products are so insignificant that Merck does not even break out sales of the drugs in its Securities and Exchange Commission filings.

Merck plans to lower the prices of seven drugs, including Zepatier, a drug for heaptitis-c, by 60 percent. "We welcome Merck's decision to reduce prices and restrain future price hikes".

On Wednesday, Azar submitted a proposal to the White House that would cut rebates offered to insurers and pharmacy-benefit managers, a measure drug companies have not backed.

Amid a shrinking patient pool and tough competition from companies like Gilead and AbbVie, Zepatier sales were down 65% in the last quarter, to $131 million.

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