Pfizer ends deal to placate Trump, announces plan to raise prices on 41 prescription drugs
Pharmaceutical company Pfizer will raise prices on 10 percent of its prescription drugs in January, ending a brief period in which the company halted price increases in an effort to appease President Donald Trump.
The Wall Street Journal first reported the Pfizer news Friday. The paper reported that Pfizer would raise prices on 41 drugs by an average of about 5 percent, though three drug prices will be raised by 3 percent and one will be raised by 9 percent.
Trump negotiated a price freeze with Pfizer CEO Ian Read in July of this year, but, as Bloomberg reported, Read said on an earnings call Friday, “I expect our approach by the end of year will be what I would characterize as business as normal. We price to the marketplace. We price competitively, and we will make those decisions towards the end of the year and early in January.”
According to Bloomberg, the drugmaker said halting price increases would last only until the end of 2018, or “until Trump’s wide-ranging plan to lower pharmaceutical costs was fully implemented.” As the outlet noted, a plan has not been implemented.
BREAKING: Per @WSJ just now, Pfizer will raise prices on 41 drugs they delayed over the summer to please Trump.
Now the election is over and it’s back to business.
— Andy Slavitt (@ASlavitt) November 16, 2018
Andy Slavitt, the former head the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid under former President Obama, said of the price increase on Twitter Friday, “Now the election is over and it’s back to business.”
The price halt — and its quick end — comes after Pfizer reaped major rewards from the Republican tax cut passed last year. As ThinkProgress’ Rebekah Entralgo reported earlier this year, Pfizer predicted that the company would receive a tax cut of over $1 billion in 2018 alone and that it would pay a tax rate of just 17 percent. That is, as she noted, much lower than what many working families pay.
Pfizer did announce a plan to share the tax savings with employees, but only as a one-time bonus, not a wage increase, nor did they use the savings to create more jobs. Merk, another large pharmaceutical company, also got a major tax break and offered their employees a one-time bonus. Between the two companies, just $169 million dollars were given in bonuses, about 37 times less than the total tax breaks the two corporations received.