Merck Lowers Cost Of Zepatier, Says Its Committed To Avoiding Price Hikes

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The move prompted Pfizer to defer its increases until the end of the year and Novartis to commit to not increasing prices for the rest of the year.

Several major pharmaceutical companies lowered their spending on lobbyists in the second quarter of 2018, a time of uncertainty as President Donald Trump's administration continued its campaign to lower drug costs for consumers.

The meeting comes after Trump threatened the company with retaliation last week for increasing the list prices of 40 drugs.

Novartis Chief Executive Vas Narasimhan said that he did not have a direct talk with Trump on drug prices but said his company has been speaking to the federal Department of Health and Human Services about Trump's plan.

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

Pfizer announced on July 10 that it will roll back price increases on dozens of drugs that went into effect on July 1 "following an extensive discussion" between chairman and CEO Ian Read with President Trump.

The administration called the decision a win for American consumers, but critics argue it doesn't match up with Trump's May prediction that drug companies would soon announce massive, voluntary price decreases.

The recent price freeze statements were very well received by the president, who used the same social media channel to applaud drug makers.

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This moves came after drug giants Novartis and Pfizer said they are limiting drug-price increases in the United States.

On Wednesday, Azar submitted a proposal to the White House that would cut rebates offered to insurers and pharmacy-benefit managers, a measure drug companies have not backed.

Merck plans to lower the prices of seven drugs, including Zepatier, a drug for heaptitis-c, by 60 percent.

As for the other six products that Merck said it would take a haircut on, the products are so insignificant that Merck does not even break out sales of the drugs in its Securities and Exchange Commission filings. In a 65 percent decline from previous year, Zepatier brought in $131 million in global sales in the first quarter of 2018.

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