Trump thanks Novartis, Pfizer for not raising drug prices

A sign of Novartis on the top of a building at the company's campus in Basel on Oct. 27 2015

A spokesman for Novartis said the company notified the state of California, which has a new drug-price transparency law, of its decision in June but the news was not widely known.

"The President and his Administration look forward to continuing its work with Pfizer and other pharmaceutical companies to reform the policies that are driving up prescription drug prices for all Americans", said Hogan Gidley, deputy White House press secretary.

"We thought that was prudent given the dynamic environment that we're now in".

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 past year.

Earlier this month, the president was able to persuade Pfizer CEO Ian Read to defer the company's planned price hikes, explaining in a call that the company had complicated the administration's drug pricing plans. Trump has promised to pressure the industry to lower drug prices.

Amid growing pressure by the Trump administration to reduce drug prices for US patients, Merck has announced that the company will not increase the average net price across their product portfolio by more than inflation annually.

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

We are also lowering our price on ZEPATIER by 60 percent and several other medicines by 10 percent to reduce out-of-pocket costs for patients across the country.

Merck said in a press release Thursday that it has "a long history of responsible drug pricing". "We welcome Merck's decision to reduce prices and restrain future price hikes".

While the administration is quick to commend Merck's decision and to file it away as a win for their initiative, Merck did not cut the prices of any of its big sellers, like the cancer treatment Keytruda or the diabetes drug Januvia.

Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America spent $5.54 million between April and June, down 7.7 percent from the same period past year, according to disclosures released by the federal government on Friday.

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