Merck shares rise despite Donald Trump threat to crack down on ‘rip-off’ drug companies

The President attacked chief executive, Kenneth Frazier after he resigned from the White House’s American Manufacturing Council in protest at Mr Trump’s response to white supremacist violence

Ben Chapman
Monday 14 August 2017 15:35 BST
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(Getty )

Shares in pharmaceutical giant Merck rose on Monday despite an angry tweet from Donald Trump threatening to crack down on “rip-off drug prices”.

The shares were up just under 1 per cent shortly after Wall Street’s opening bell, in a sign that the President’s power to wipe billions off share prices in minutes with his threats over Twitter may be waning.

A tweet from Mr Trump in March, vowing to drive down drug prices, sent shares in Merck, Pfizer and Amgen tumbling.

Similar threats made to the automotive and defence industries have also hurt company stocks, at least in the short-term, as investors have worried about potential legislation that could hurt firms’ profits.

On Monday, the President attacked Merck’s chief executive, Kenneth Frazier after he resigned from the White House’s American Manufacturing Council in protest at Mr Trump’s response to white supremacist violence.

Mr Trump tweeted: “Now that Ken Frazier of Merck Pharma has resigned from President's Manufacturing Council, he will have more time to LOWER RIPOFF DRUG PRICES!”

Merck chief executive tendered his resignation after Mr Trump failed to unequivocally condemn white supremacist violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, on Saturday.

At least one person was killed when a car ploughed into a group of counter-protesters at a white supremacist gathering.

Figures from across the political spectrum criticised Mr Trump after he merely said that “many sides” were involved in the incident.

Mr Frazier wrote in a tweet on Monday: “America's leaders must honor our fundamental views by clearly rejecting expressions of hatred, bigotry and group supremacy, which run counter to the American ideal that all people are created equal.”

He added: “As CEO of Merck and as a matter of personal conscience, I feel a responsibility to take a stand against intolerance and extremism.”

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