The only time that drug companies seem to make the news these days is when their products rise in price, but recently Pfizer drew attention by backing down on cost increases.
Cost rollbacks have occurred recently because of public outcry, but in this case, Pfizer is reacting to something even larger.
The rollback comes after President Donald J. Trump took to Twitter to citizen Pfizer by name.
Here is the text of the President’s July 9th tweet:
“Pfizer & others should be ashamed that they have raised drug prices for no reason. 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!”
This message is in response to price increases that Pfizer implemented on July 7th.
The move caught many Americans who rely on the drugs the company produces off guard and lead to a backlash, which eventually caught the President’s attention.
While the president’s Tweets are a routine source of controversy in America’s highly divided and charged political landscape this attack on Pfizer gained the president bipartisan support.
In addition to the political pressure the president’s message put on Pfizer, there was also a level of economic burden. In the hours following the tweet, Pfizer’s stock took a hit. This
It seems that the people at Pfizer heard the President’s message loud and clear because the next day the President took to Twitter once more. This time his tone was celebratory rather than critical.
Here is the text of President Trump’s July 10th tweet:
“Just talked with Pfizer CEO and @SecAzar on our drug pricing blueprint. Pfizer is rolling back price hikes, so American patients don’t pay more. We applaud Pfizer for this decision and hope other companies do the same. Great news for the American people!”
For reference, Pfizer’s current CEO is Ian C. Read, and @SecAzar refers to Alex Azar, the current Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
This news is positive for anyone who takes drugs produced by Pfizer, but as of writing it still isn’t sure how long this new understanding will last.
For one thing, not all drug prices have fallen back to their previous rates. The company said that they will work to roll back costs as quickly as possible, but they noted that technical concerns meant that the price change wouldn’t be instantaneous for all users.
There is also the fact that Pfizer still wants to increase their cash flow. They’ve agreed to postpone the increases for the rest of 2018, but they’re still looking to increase rates in 2019.
The company is willing to work with the government on the upcoming “drug pricing blueprint,” which is supposed to find a way to satisfy both average Americans and drug companies.
Only time will tell whether the Department of Health and Human Services will be able to strike a deal that lives up to the President’s lofty promises.