President Donald Trump jumped back into the debate over drug pricing on Tuesday, sending pharmaceutical stocks down again with a tweet promising to lower medicine costs for American people.
In a tweet shortly before 9 a.m. New York time, Trump said he’s working on a “new system where there will be competition in the drug industry.”
Mylan NV, the maker of the EpiPen allergy shot that was at the centre of the public outrage over drug prices last year, declined 1.5 percent to $43.36 at 12:18 p.m. in New York, while Perrigo Co. dropped 2.5 percent and Allergan Plc fell 1.5 percent.
Trump sent his tweet the morning after House Republicans unveiled their long-awaited legislation to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act lateMonday, which he also touted Tuesday, adding that competition will come later in the health-care rollout.
“We are intrigued by the timing of President Trump’s tweet this morning as it followed rapidly behind the House health-care reform bill, and we believe shows the administration’s continued focus on drug pricing,” Vamil Divan, an analyst at Credit Suisse AG, said in a note to clients.
The 25-member Standard & Poor’s 500 Pharmaceuticals, Biotechnology & Life Sciences Index dropped as much as 1.3 percent, the most since Jan. 11, when Trump said the pharmaceutical industry is “getting away with murder.” The president has promised to lower drug costs multiple times -- and threatened to use the government’s buying power to force prices down -- but so far has not unveiled any specifics about how to do so.
The Tuesday tweet left analysts struggling to figure out what the president meant, especially because Trump has alluded to bidding in the past. Unlike most countries in the world, the U.S. doesn’t directly regulate medicine prices, and drugmakers have strongly resisted it.