Major US pharmaceuticals lose $25bn in just 20 minutes during Donald Trump's press conference

Pharmaceutical companies are “getting away with murder,” Mr Trump said

Zlata Rodionova
Thursday 12 January 2017 09:39
Donald Trump calls for change to curb Big Pharma

Close to $25bn was wiped off the value of the S&P 500’s top nine pharmaceutical companies in a matter of minutes on Wednesday, after President-elect Donald Trump accused them of “getting away with murder.”

Shares in Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer, Merck, Amgen, AbbVie, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Gilead, Celgene and Eli Lilly, all fell between 1 and over 5 per cent immediately after the comments before rebounding slightly. Shares in carmakers also sold off on separate comments from Mr Trumps.

The Nasdaq Biotechnology Index ended the trading session down almost 3 per cent cutting its gains for the year to under 5 per cent.

Shares in Viagra-maker Pfizer, one of the world’s largest pharmaceutical companies, ended the day almost 2 per cent lower, wiping nearly $5bn off the company’s market value. Hardest hit was Bristol-Myers Squibb. Shares in the maker of blood-thinning drug Coumadin fell 5.3 per cent on the day.

Speaking to members of the press for the first time since swinging to victory in hotly contested election battle in November, Mr Trump said: “We have to get our drug industry coming back. Our drug industry has been disastrous.”

Speaking about the individual companies, he said “they're leaving left and right.”

“They supply our drugs but they don't make them here, to a large extent. And the other thing we have to do is create new bidding procedures for the drug industry, because they're getting away with murder”.

Mr Trump, who takes office in eight days, suggested during his Wednesday press conference that there should be price controls.

Trump’s comments were echoed by Senator Bernie Sanders, who took to Twitter to say that “Trump is right” to take on Big Pharma.

The drug industry has been on edge for two years about the potential for more government pressure on pricing after sharp increases in the costs of some life-saving drugs drew scrutiny in the press and among lawmaker.

Geoffrey Yu, head of the UK Investment office at UBS Wealth Management in London, said that more broadly in financial markets investors were on edge in relation to Trump’s policies and execution.

“Continue to expect the unexpected,” he said.

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