Pfizer CEO Ian Read said the company will return to “business as normal” on its drug pricing in January, after agreeing to hold off on price increases earlier this year following pressure from President Trump.
Read noted on an earnings call that the agreement to hold off on price increases would end at the end of the year, at which point the company will return to pricing based on the market. “We price to the marketplace, we price competitively,” Read said.
In July, Pfizer announced that it was holding off on planned price increases following a conversation between Read and Trump.
“Pfizer is rolling back price hikes, so American patients don’t pay more,” Trump tweeted at the time. “We applaud Pfizer for this decision and hope other companies do the same. Great news for the American people!”
Since then, Trump has touted his efforts to get drug companies to hold off on price increases. Fighting high drug prices has been a major focus of his presidency.
Pfizer, though, affirmed on Tuesday that the price increases could return in January, given that the agreement only lasted until then.
The Trump administration has also said it is not solely relying on voluntary actions from drug companies. And, last week, Trump announced a major action aiming to lower drug prices paid by Medicare by tying the prices for some drugs to the lower prices paid in other countries.
The pharmaceutical industry vehemently opposes that move. Read said Tuesday on the earnings call that the move would “import price controls.”
“We would hope that the administration would reconsider its position on that,” he said.
BY PETER SULLIVAN – 10/30/18