Trump just claimed a win in cutting back prescription drug prices, but the reality of high drug prices is a lot more complicated


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President Donald Trump has been making a stink about drug prices, claiming a win Tuesday night when Pfizer deferred its plan to increase the prices of 10% of its medications.
But it remains to be seen how Pfizer’s move will impact patients still facing high prescription drug costs.
Here’s all that goes into the price patients are paying when they get to the pharmacy counter.

President Donald Trump is on a crusade to lower prescription drug prices.

In May, the Trump administration laid out a 44-page drug-pricing blueprint, calling out middlemen in the pharmaceutical industry and “freeloading” by other countries that pay less than the US for prescription drugs.

That came to a head on Tuesday when New York-based pharmaceutical giant Pfizer said that it’s deferring the price increases it planned to take on some of its prescription drugs following a conversation between its CEO Ian Read and Trump.

Trump had singled out the pharmaceutical giant earlier in the week over its recent price hikes. Pfizer had increased the price of about 40 of its 400 products, including Viagra, as of July 1. Pfizer wasn’t the only drugmaker to raise the price of its drugs, though it was one of only a handful to raise prices on drugs for a second time in 2018.

“Pfizer & others should be ashamed that they have raised drug prices for no reason,” Trump said in an initial tweet.

Pfizer will now return its drugs to their initial price before July 1. Trump broadcast the move in a tweet, in which he characterized it as “rolling back price hikes, so American patients don’t pay more.”

But it begs the question: how will American patients benefit from this?

To start, Pfizer’s move on Tuesday was to defer its planned price increases, not cancel them altogether. Should the Trump administration fail to get its drug-pricing plan off the ground by the end of the year, Pfizer will go ahead and increase the prices of the drugs.

“The company will return these prices to their pre-July 1 levels as soon as technically possible, and the prices will remain in effect until the earlier of when the president’s blueprint goes into effect or the end of the year – whichever is sooner,” Pfizer said in a statement.

Analysts, for their part, didn’t see this decision as having much of an impact on Pfizer’s overall business, especially because the increases weren’t very big — though analysts at Morgan Stanley did call the decision to defer the price hike as “surprising.”

And, as Wells Fargo analyst David Maris noted, Pfizer’s move could impact what happens to other drugmakers’ price increases.

“For example, will Merck’s Keytruda price increase from March or AbbVie’s Humira’s 19% price increase over the past two years be next? And what did Pharma get in exchange for this Trump win?” Maris wrote Wednesday. “To us, we believe the administration’s and other key legislators’ focus is not only on drug pricing, but on the overall supply chain and delivery system, …read more

Source:: Business Insider

      

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