Senate Finance Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley of Iowa and Ranking Member Ron Wyden of Oregon today invited seven major pharmaceutical companies to testify before a committee hearing on February 26, 2019, on drug pricing in the United States, the second in a series of hearings examining prescription drug costs.
The companies invited include AbbVie, AstraZeneca, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Johnson & Johnson, Merck & Co., Pfizer and Sanofi.
“Pharmaceutical companies receive billions of dollars a year from federal programs like Medicare and Medicaid,” Grassley and Wyden said. “This is an opportunity for companies that produce life-saving treatments to explain how they price these treatments and whether the status quo is acceptable. Patients and taxpayers deserve to hear from leaders in the industry about what’s behind this unsustainable trend and what can be done to lower costs.”
The Finance Committee held its first hearing on drug pricing on January 29. At that hearing, Grassley noted that several of the companies re-invited today initially declined the committee’s request to testify. At the hearing, Grassley said, “The companies that declined said they would discuss their ideas in private, but not in public…That is not what I mean when I talk about transparency. So, we will extend the opportunity again in the future, but we will be more insistent the next time.” Wyden echoed Grassley in his remarks at the hearing, “The Finance Committee invited the heads of several of the largest drug companies to testify today. They weren’t willing to come answer our questions about why their products cost so much. Even if it means using our power to compel the drug company CEOs to show up, they will come before this committee.”