Trump thanks Novartis, Pfizer for not raising drug prices

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The New Jersey-based drugmaker will slash its hepatitis C treatment Zepatier by 60 percent and will lower the list price of six other drugs by 10 percent.

Trump has pressured drug companies to keep prices low, and met with Pfizer after it announced price increases for more than 100 drugs.

While that sounds like a substantial commitment, Evercore ISI analyst Umer Raffat noted that it does not amount to a significant change and "technically leaves the room open for increases where it would like to".

Merck's announcement comes days after Novartis decided against raising US prices on its prescriptions drugs, and Pfizer recently postponed planned price increases for almost 100 drugs, a decision that came after a meeting with the president.

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Roche, Bayer and Merck KGaA all said on Friday they would not seek to lift prices this year in the world's biggest drug market, following Novartis, Pfizer and USA drugmaker Merck which had already announced similar moves.

It also said it would not increase the average net price of other medicines in its portfolio of products by more than the inflation rate annually.

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

Last week, Pfizer chief executive Ian Read said his company would delay increasing the prices of dozens of drug products after Trump publicly berated the firm one day earlier.

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Swiss drugmaker Novartis said on Tuesday it would not raise prices on its USA products for the remainder of the year, following a similar move by Pfizer the week prior.

Mr. Narasimhan didn't speak directly with Mr. Trump about pricing, the company said, adding it had been in contact with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in the context of the administration's blueprint to curb drug prices that was unveiled in May.

The statement came after Pfizer reversed and froze price increases on some drugs in the USA following president Donald Trump's social media spree.

Trump made lowering prescription drug prices a top 2016 presidential campaign issue.

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The president took his frustration to Twitter, saying: "Pfizer & others should be ashamed that they have raised drug prices for no reason".

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