Novartis freezing USA drug prices for rest of year, report

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Like other drug companies, he maintained that net prices - what Novartis retains after paying rebates to pharmacy benefit managers - have been flat to declining.

Fox News Medical A Team's Dr. Marc Siegel on how pharmaceutical giant Pfizer agreed to postpone drug price hikes after President Trump attacked the company on Twitter.

The Swiss drugmaker said it had pulled back on price increases planned for this year and that the decision was taken last month before a political row engulfed pharmaceutical group Pfizer.

"We would expect to see, assuming continued momentum like we're seeing now, to be at the high end of that range", Narasimhan said on a conference call, adding that will come without price hikes as Novartis keeps the lid on its medicines' costs amid pressure from USA lawmakers and President Donald Trump.

"We thought that was prudent, given the dynamic environment we're now in", he said on the call, according to multiple reports.

Earlier this year, Novartis raised prices on roughly two dozen drugs by 8.9 percent to 9.9 percent, according to Elsevier's Gold Standard Drug Database.

Pfizer moved on July 1 to raise the prices on 41 drug products.

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Merck & Co. said Thursday it will cut USA list prices for several of its drugs including the hepatitis C treatment Zepatier, and the company pledged to limit future net price increases.

"We would expect to see, assuming continued momentum like we're seeing now, to be at the high end of that range", Narasimhan said, adding that this would come without price hikes as Novartis keeps the lid on medicine costs under pressure from USA lawmakers and Trump.

Novartis now predicts Sandoz sales for 2018 will fall in the low single digit percentages, after previously holding out hopes for them to remain steady.

Narasimhan is continuing a review of options for the USA generics business, but reiterated Novartis remains committed to the Sandoz unit, as a whole.

Second-quarter growth was helped by a 40 percent increase in Cosentyx sales to $701 billion, a development analysts labeled a relief after sales of the medicine missed expectations to start 2018. USA lawmakers accused the firm last week of misleading the public about the depth of its contacts with Michael Cohen. But he maintained that no outstanding USA government or congressional inquiries remained into the ties to Cohen.

"I view the Cohen issue as closed at this point", he said.

He also said he expected the launch of multiple sclerosis drug BAF312 in early 2019.

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