Drug giant Merck announces lower prices on some medications

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Novartis' position about this year's price increase has been announced during the Q2 2018 earnings call transmitted as a live audio webcast.

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.

Novartis's decision to hold the line on prices in the USA was voluntary and the company aimed to have a "system that can support breakthrough innovation ... but still ensure affordability".

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

The president took his frustration to Twitter, saying: "Pfizer & others should be ashamed that they have raised drug prices for no reason".

Trump, along with other politicians across the political spectrum, has regularly targeted drug companies for ostensibly greedy price-hiking habits.

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Nielsen, however, said "it would be foolish" to think Russian Federation is not still interfering with the USA electoral system. Nielsen said she has a very professional relationship with Trump and that he listens to her opinions.

In May, the Trump administration outlined a plan for lower prices, but critics have said it did not go far enough.

Merck joined fellow pharmaceutical giants Novartis and Pfizer on Thursday in pledging to limit drug price increases in the United States. They will also lower the cost of Zepatier, its hepatitis C treatment, by 60 percent, and several other products by 10 percent.

Trump, who has vowed to help reduce the cost of prescription drugs to consumers, expressed anger at drugmakers over planned price hikes.

Merck also says it will not raise the average price of drugs beyond the annual rate of inflation.

"This decision is a response to President Trump's blueprint and reflects the industry's understanding that the President is serious about bringing change to our drug markets", U.S. Secretary of Health & Human Services (HHS) Alex Azar said in a statement that praises Merck's decision. Instead, it reduce the price of Zepatier, a treatment whose sales have dropped so low that US sales were offset by after-the-fact rebates to insurers. 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.

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