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

The Merck logo is seen at a gate to the Merck & Co campus in Linden New Jersey U.S

"Thank you to Novartis for not increasing your prices on prescription drugs", Trump said in an early morning tweet.

Novartis's chief executive, Vas Narasimhan, said during an earnings call with investors that the company had made the decision in June, amid escalating outrage over high drug prices.

The New Jersey pharma also said that it would "not increase the average net price across our portfolio of products by more than inflation annually". In 2017, Merck issued its second annual Pricing Action Transparency Report, which showed that net prices across Merck's USA product portfolio declined by 1.9 percent.

Recently, Pfizer was lambasted by President Donald Trump over its price hikes and announced it would roll them back.

Trump announced in May a plan to lower drug prices by, among other things, giving the government better tools to negotiate drug prices for Medicare beneficiaries and counter foreign government regulations that often keep drug prices artificially low.

Trump's administration outlined a plan for lower prices a few months ago.

More news: Chelsea could sign Nabil Fekir amid Eden Hazard exit talk

While Merck is actually making the move to lower prices, the pledge will likely to have little impact.

Zepatier (elbasvir/grazoprevir) has largely been driven out of use in the hepatitis C space by much more effective treatments from both Gilead Sciences and AbbVie. Merck has yet to report second quarter sales.

Merck said in a press release Thursday that it has "a long history of responsible drug pricing". The drug had $1.6 billion in sales in 2017.

According to the IMS data provided by Raffat, the six drugs collectively brought in approximately $12 million during all of 2017.

Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America spent $5.54 million between April and June, down 7.7 percent from the same period previous year, according to disclosures released by the federal government on Friday.

By contrast, in the first quarter of 2018, Keytruda had sales in the USA of $838 million and Januvia brought in $465 million in the same period.

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