UPDATE 1-Trump thanks Novartis, Pfizer for not raising drug prices

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WASHINGTON, July 19 (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump thanked two major drug companies on Thursday for not raising their prices and said his administration was working toward substantially cutting prescription-drug prices.

“Thank you to Novartis for not increasing your prices on prescription drugs. Likewise to Pfizer. We are making a big push to actually reduce the prices, maybe substantially, on prescription drugs,” Trump said in a tweet.

Earlier this month Trump was able to persuade Pfizer CEO Ian Read to defer the company’s planned price hikes, explaining in a call the company had complicated the administration’s drug pricing plans.

Facing pressure from the Trump administration and lawmakers, Swiss drugmaker Novartis has also halted anticipated price increases. (Reporting by Lisa Lambert Editing by Mark Heinrich)