Drug companies hiking prices despite Trump's promise to lower them: analysis

More drug companies raised their prices in the past year than cut them, according to an analysis by AP published.

The review, which used data provided by health information analytics firm Elsevier, found that there have been fewer price increases compared to past years, and that price hikes have been lower than in previous years.

Still, companies raised prices far more often than they cut them, according to the AP, which found that there were 96 increases for every one price cut from January to July.

Drug prices have spiked over the last decade, putting a pinch on consumers who have not seen wages keep up with the hikes.

Prices for the Novartis cancer drug Gleevec, for example, rose in price by 440 percent — from $26,000 to $140,000 — from 2001 to 2017.

President Trump has made cutting drug prices a major priority. He blasted the pharmaceutical industry for “getting away with murder” with steep drug prices during the campaign and since.

At the end of May, he promised that drug companies would be announcing “massive” voluntary drug price cuts within two weeks.

Right after that prediction, in June and July, there were 395 price increases and 24 decreases, the AP analysis found. Compared to the same two months last year where there were only 15 price cuts, the two dozen decreases were an improvement, but increases still outpaced decreases by a ratio of 16.5-to-1, the analysis found.

In July, Trump called out Pfizer on Twitter for raising prices. The company had raised the list prices for a number of its prescription drugs on July 1, the second time in a year it had done so.

But after a phone call with the president, Pfizer reversed the hikes and announced it would freeze prices for the remainder of 2018. The administration took credit for the move, arguing it was proof that the president’s tough talk is leading to results.

Seven other major drugmakers have also said they wouldn’t increase prices for the rest of the year. All of them had already taken price hikes on many of their products in January.

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