Since the Democrats have taken control of the House, various committees have held (and are constantly planning) hearings involving everything from malfeasance within the executive branch to private industry. The latter sector was most recently represented as the Pharma industry testified before the Finance Committee.
Ron Wyden, a longtime committee member and influential ranking member called the industry as he sees it. (But he’s not running for president.)
Sen. Ron Wyden, the ranking member of the committee, blasted Big Pharma as “morally repugnant” and accused the companies of operating in an “unacceptable” way. He grew testy when he believed the executives weren’t being forthcoming about reducing list prices.“All of this other stuff is window dressing,” Wyden snapped. “You are stonewalling on the key issue.”
At one point, he pressed the chairman and CEO of AbbVie, maker of the arthritis drug Humira, which, according to a recent New York Times story, has doubled in list price since 2012, from about $19,000 a year to $38,000. Wyden wanted to know whether the company makes money on drugs in Germany and other Westernized nations where patients pay, on average, 40% less than Americans.“Yes, we do,” CEO Richard Gonzalez said.If that’s the case, Wyden said, “you can do the same thing in the United States.”“How is that not gouging the American consumer?” he asked. “You are willing to sit by and hose the American consumer and give breaks to those overseas.”
Among cost-saving ideas from the Trump administration, one suggests setting the reimbursement level for certain drugs administered in doctors’ offices and hospital outpatient centers based on their cost in other countries, which typically pay far less. The so-called International Pricing Index model has faced blowback from many quarters, including some Republican lawmakers.