Biotech analyst: Republicans will protect drug companies from Trump

Drugmaker shares were reeling on Wednesday after president elect Donald Trump addressed drug prices in an interview with Time magazine.

“I’m going to bring down drug prices. I don’t like what’s happened with drug prices.”

The comments sent the Nasdaq biotech index tumbling as much as 3.7% Wednesday.

But one analyst, Bank of America’s Ying Huang says there’s actually not much Trump can do, because Republicans who control congress can keep legislation from passing.

Drug pricing doesn’t seem to be as high a priority to Republicans, Huang said during a press event Wednesday, pointing to House Speaker Paul Ryan’s healthcare plan that doesn’t bring up drug pricing.

“If we had a Democratic sweep, then I’m sure something could actually have passed,” he said.

“He’s a populist, so he says whatever that can appeal to the general public,” Huang said of Trump. But as far as actually acting on those comments, the implications were less clear. “We don’t know exactly what he meant when he said he doesn’t like drug prices.”

Drug stocks were among the biggest gainers in the wake of Trump’s election last month, with biotechnology stocks rallying 13.3%. Investors had been skittish about what a Hillary Clinton presidency would mean for regulation of drug development and pricing
, and she often sent drugmakers’ stocks falling with her comments on Twitter.

Here’s what the biotech index looked like as of Wednesday morning. The benchmark has since regained some ground and was down about 3.1% by Wednesday afternoon.

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