Pharma giant Merck just lowered the prices of some of its medications

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

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

Amid growing pressure by the Trump administration to reduce drug prices for US patients, Merck has announced that the company will not increase the average net price across their product portfolio by more than inflation annually.

The move by Merck comes after Pfizer announced price hikes for almost three dozen drugs only to reverse course amid public pressure from President Donald Trump.

President Donald Trump thanked drug makers Novartis and Pfizer for delaying drug price increases until at least the end of the year, giving Trump a chance to roll out his plan to reduce drug prices.

The announcements came after Trump slammed big pharmaceutical companies - and Pfizer specifically - in a Twitter post, saying they should be "ashamed" and "are merely taking advantage of poor [and] others unable to defend themselves".

Amid pressure from the White House and lawmakers, rival Novartis also halted anticipated price increases, the Swiss drugmaker's chief Vas Narasimhan told reporters Wednesday, according to Bloomberg News.

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"We thought that was prudent, given the dynamic environment we're now in", he said on the call, according to multiple reports.

Trump in a tweet earlier this month lambasted what he called Pfizer's plans to raise prices "for no reason". The company will drop the price of Zepatier, a Hepatitis C drug, by 60%, and decrease the costs of "several other" drugs by 10%.

However the price cut may also be motivated by the increasingly competitive hepatitis C drug market - sales of Zepatier slumped in the last quarter.

Amid a shrinking patient pool and tough competition from companies like Gilead and AbbVie, Zepatier sales were down 65% in the last quarter, to $131 million.

Mr. Narasimhan didn't speak directly with Mr. Trump about pricing, the company said, adding it had been in contact with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in the context of the administration's blueprint to curb drug prices that was unveiled in May.

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