Senator Wyden prods Trump/Pfizer for details, calling drug pricing stunt ‘long on theatrics, short on relief’

Senator Ron Wyden (D-Oregon) on Wednesday sought more details from President Donald Trump’s HHS Secretary and Pfizer on the company’s decision to delay price increases.

Ron Wyden

In a letter to Pfizer, Wyden said, “Rolling back previously announced price increases based on a conversation with the President illustrates how arbitrary drug manufacturers’ decisions to increase prices [are].”

According to multiple reports, Pfizer raised the prices of about 100 products as of July 1, but on Tuesday said those hikes would be delayed until Trump’s drug price blueprint comes into force — raising questions about what would be implemented that would cause Pfizer to make an about face on the hikes.

At a Pew Research event Tuesday, HHS’ deputy assistant secretary for planning and evaluation John O’Brien declined to comment on what could be implemented or what such a timeline might look like for the drug pricing blueprint to come into force.

Wyden, however, wants to know what the administration agreed to in exchange for Pfizer’s decision to delay the price increases, and he also wants the date by which Pfizer could return to the price increases.

And in a letter to HHS Secretary Alex Azar, Wyden questioned the logistics of what Pfizer announced.

“Like many pronouncements coming out of the Administration, the President’s agreement with Pfizer is long on theatrics and short on real and sustainable relief for patients being mugged at the pharmacy counter,” Wyden wrote to Azar.

Pfizer directed us to its comment from Tuesday evening.

New Bill

Meanwhile, Massachusetts senator Elizabeth Warren and several other Senate Democrats introduced a bill on Wednesday to cap prescription drug copays.

The bill would cap prescription drug copays at $250 per month for individuals and $500 per month for families. The caps would apply to both group health plans and individual market plans.

First published here. Regulatory Focus is the flagship online publication of the Regulatory Affairs Professionals Society (RAPS), the largest global organization of and for those involved with the regulation of healthcare and related products, including medical devices, pharmaceuticals, biologics and nutritional products. Email news@raps.org for more information. 

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