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Drug Giant Novartis Is Temporarily Backing Off Price Increases Following Trump Pressure

July 19, 2018, 9:59 PM UTC

President Trump on Thursday praised drug giant Novartis for temporarily postponing drug price hikes less than a week after Pfizer made a similar decision. But it’s unclear how much Novartis’ move will actually benefit consumers and patients.

“We thought the prudent thing to do was to pull back on any further price increases in 2018 and evaluate as the environment evolves,” Novartis CEO Vas Narasimhan said in an interview with Bloomberg. Trump replied in kind: “Thank you to Novartis for not increasing your prices on prescription drugs. Likewise to Pfizer. We are making a big push to actually reduce the prices, maybe substantially, on prescription drugs.”

Trump, along with other politicians across the political spectrum, has regularly targeted drug companies for ostensibly greedy price-hiking habits. But the administration’s proposals for reducing prices has been met with some skepticism. Pfizer’s and Novartis’ tactics don’t guarantee long-standing commitments to voluntarily reduce or halt drug price increases, either, and won’t necessarily translate into lower prices for American patients, given the convoluted nature of the pharmaceutical supply chain.

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