(Adds context, further stock details)
By Lewis Krauskopf
March 7 Shares of large U.S. pharmaceutical and
biotechnology companies sold off on Tuesday after President
Donald Trump said he was working on a "new system" to reduce
prices in the industry.
"I am working on a new system where there will be
competition in the Drug Industry," Trump tweeted. "Pricing for
the American people will come way down!"
Shares of Pfizer Inc and Merck & Co shed 1.1
percent, and Amgen Inc dropped 1.4 percent.
The Nasdaq Biotechnology index was 1.4 percent lower,
while the NYSE Arca Pharmaceutical index fell 1.2
The tweet came as Republicans late on Monday unveiled
legislation to dismantle the Affordable Care Act, known as
Obamacare, which Trump has long vowed to repeal and replace.
After the release of the Obamacare replacement plans,
hospital stocks were lower, with Tenet Healthcare and
Community Health Systems each down about 4 percent.
Shares of most health insurers were modestly higher.
Healthcare was the worst-performing of the 11 major
S&P sectors, falling 0.7 percent.
Trump's tweet was the latest of his comments about high drug
As president-elect, Trump said in January that the industry
was "getting away with murder" in what it charges the government
In his speech to Congress last week, Trump said more needs
to be done to bring down "artificially high" prices for
Leaders of several large drugmakers met with Trump at the
White House in January.
Even with Tuesday's declines, the healthcare sector has
outperformed the broader market this year, rising 8.5 percent
against a 5.9 percent climb for the S&P 500.
(Reporting by Lewis Krauskopf in New York; Editing by Chizu
Nomiyama and Lisa Von Ahn)