European health care and pharmaceutical company shares were hit hard Thursday after President-elect Donald Trump accused some firms of "getting away with murder" in his Wednesday press conference.
The Stoxx Europe 600 Health Care index traded 2.06% lower at 09:40 GMT, extending its weekly decline to just over 3%, as bellwether shares around the region fell sharply on concerns that Trump's new administration will bring in major changes to the world's biggest health care market with the repeal of the Affordable Care Act and negotiate prices with drug companies on behalf of American taxpayers.
Switzerland's SMI index, which is heavily-weighted with health care and pharma stocks, was the standout decliner in early European trading, falling 1.15% compared to a 0.38% dip for the Stoxx 600 Europe index, led by a 3% fall for Novartis (NVS) - Get Report and a 2.3% slide for Roche Holding (RHHBY) .
Shares in U.K. health care firms were also on the back foot, with Shire (SHPG) - Get Report falling 3.3%, AstraZenca (AZN) - Get Report falling 1.35% and Hikma Pharmaceuticals (HKMPY) falling 2.97%. In Germany, shares in Merck (BAYRY) fell 2.02%, Bayer (BAYRY) fell 0.72% and Fresenius Medical Care (FMS) - Get Report slid 1.13%.
That follows significant moves for U.S. biotech stocks, which sold off shortly after Trump suggested he would aggressively negotiate the prices the U.S. paid for drugs.
Biotech stocks sold off shortly after Trump suggested he would aggressively negotiate the prices the U.S. paid for drugs. In his first press conference since July, Trump said pharmaceutical companies have been "getting away with murder." The iShares Nasdaq Biotechnology ETF (IBB) - Get Report slumped more than 3%, while the SPDRS&P Biotech ETF (XBI) - Get Report slid 3.5%.
U.S. lawmakers also moved closer to an ACA repeal in an initial round of voting that took place later yesterday in Washington, where the Senate passed the first stage process with a 51-48 decision that fell entirely across partisan lines between Democrats and Republicans.