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updated: 7/9/2018 1:33 PM

Trump attacks Pfizer over drug prices in latest dig at industry

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  • President Donald Trump, left, responds Sunday to a question about his pick for the Supreme Court as he walks with first lady Melania Trump on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington after returning from Bedminster, N.J., where they spent the weekend.

    President Donald Trump, left, responds Sunday to a question about his pick for the Supreme Court as he walks with first lady Melania Trump on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington after returning from Bedminster, N.J., where they spent the weekend.
    associated Press

 
 

President Donald Trump said Pfizer should be "ashamed" for raising the prices of its pharmaceutical products, rattling shares of the U.S. drug giant on Monday.

"Pfizer & others should be ashamed that they have raised drug prices for no reason," Trump said in a tweet. "They are merely taking advantage of the poor & others unable to defend themselves, while at the same time giving bargain basement prices to other countries in Europe & elsewhere. We will respond!"

Earlier this month, the Financial Times reported that Pfizer had raised prices on about 100 drugs, following a pattern of regular increases that the company takes each year. A Pfizer spokeswoman didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

Trump has promised repeatedly to drive down drug prices, though so far most-noticed efforts have been using his Twitter account and stump speeches to call out pharmaceutical companies, rather than enacting major new policies. For example, in August last year he criticized Merck & Co., saying the company was shipping jobs outside of the U.S. while raising prices. And in January 2017 Trump said the drug industry was "getting away with murder."

Five weeks ago, Trump said that drugmakers would announce "voluntary, massive" cuts in drug prices in two weeks. So far, no such announcement from the industry has happened. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar has released a list of proposals that could help reduce drug prices, though many would require new laws or regulations to implement.

Pfizer shares were up about 0.5 percent after rising as much as 1 percent earlier in the day. The Nasdaq Biotechnology Index, often used as a barometer for investor sentiment about drug prices, was up 0.1 percent after rising as much as 0.5 percent earlier.

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