Trump slams Pfizer in tweet over drug prices, but stock still ends day up

President Donald Trump criticized pharmaceutical giant Pfizer Inc. PFE, +0.13% in a Monday tweet for recently increasing the prices of many of its prescription drugs.

In the tweet, which referred to Pfizer and unspecified “others,” Trump said that companies were “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!”

Pfizer shares fell after the tweet, but then rebounded in heavy early afternoon trade and ended the day up 0.13%.

The presidential tweet follows a Financial Times report that Pfizer raised list prices for 100 products in early July, weeks after Trump promised large price reductions, and marking the second such increase this year for Pfizer. The drugmaker also decreased the prices of five products, according to the report. Pfizer told the Financial Times that the increases, which were made on the drugs’ so-called “list prices,” did not reflect net price increases, estimated to be in the low single digits.

Drug companies tend to increase the prices of their drugs early in the year and then again in the summer, and Pfizer was one of several to do so this month.

Pfizer reissued its statement from a week ago, saying it increased the list prices on just 10% of its portfolio, and prices for the majority of its drugs remain unchanged.

Trump previously attacked pharmaceutical company Merck & Co. Inc. MRK, -0.29%  and its “ripoff drug prices” after Chief Executive Kenneth Frazier left a presidential advisory council in light of a white-supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Va.

At the end of May, Trump had said that pharmaceutical companies would soon announce “massive” cuts in drug prices on a voluntary basis. So far, there have been no signs of such price cuts. Branded drug prices are up 6.6% this year, compared with 6.5% for the same period last year, according to Morgan Stanley.

Pfizer shares have surged 4.8% over the last three months, compared with a 5.6% rise in the S&P 500 SPX, +0.88%  and a 3.3% rise in the Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA, +1.31%  .

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