Market Overview

Merck Announces Plans To Cut Drug Prices

Merck Announces Plans To Cut Drug Prices
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Pharmaceutical companies seemed to have taken President Donald Trump's criticism of drug pricing to heart. 

Last week, Pfizer Inc. (NYSE: PFEannounced plans to restructure the company and plans to deter price increases for as long as possible, assuming that Trump makes some changes.

A week later, Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE: MRK) is following suit. 

What Happened

Merck announced Thursday that it will lower the price of several medications while also limiting future price increases.

The price of several medications will drop by 10 percent, including Prinivil, Remeron and Trusopt, according to Merck.

Among those are Prinivil, Remeron, Trusopt and a few others.

The hepatitis C treatment Zepatier, will see a 60-percent price cut. 

“The Merck products selected were based on a range of factors including the gap between list price and actual discounted (net) prices paid in the market, the contractual obligations under existing arrangements with payers and the opportunity to broaden access to treatment," the drugmaker said in a statement. 

The company added that it will “commit to not increase the average net price across our portfolio of products by more than inflation annually.”

Why It’s Important

The price adjustments will decrease patient out-of-pocket costs for Merck drugs. 

The decision could also set a precedent for how pharmaceutical giants determine prices. 

What’s Next

Since May, The Trump administration has been working on a strategy to lower drug prices. Steps taken by drug companies should only expedite and alleviate the process.

Merck shares were trading nearly flat at $62.48 at the time of publication Friday. 

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