Health and Fitness

Rep. Jan Shakowsky Pushes for More Accountability and Transparency at Drug Pricing Hearing

Washington, DC–(ENEWSPF)–December 3, 2015.

Yesterday, I spoke at a Steering and Policy hearing on the high cost of prescription drugs. Far too many Americans are unable to afford prescription drugs because too many pharmaceutical companies charge outlandish prices for the drugs they make with little transparency and accountability.

It is clear that we need to act – 77% of Americans now say that drug prices are their top health care concern. It is outrageous that taxpayers help fund drug development but only those who can afford the cost of treatment are able to receive it. Despite these rising drug prices, we still have no information on how drugs are priced and what the true cost of production is. That is no longer good enough.

Drug manufacturers will insist that they need to charge exorbitant prices to recoup their R&D investments, but they are not required to disclose any information related to how much they spend to develop the drug and how much of that was paid for by taxpayer dollars. In addition, they’re not required to disclose how much they spend on marketing or how much they make in profits. For example, Gleevec, a drug to treat leukemia, came onto the market in 2001 with a price of $30,000. However, this drug was developed in large part by NIH-funded research conducted at the Oregon Health & Science University. If this wasn’t bad enough, the wholesale price of Gleevec is now $76,000. If drug companies are going to make the argument that they need to price these drugs at such exorbitant rates because of the cost of R&D, then they must prove it.

Earlier this week, Senate Finance Committee members released a report detailing an 18-month investigation into the pricing and marketing of Gilead’s Hepatitis C drug Sovaldi. They found that the $84,000 price given to Sovaldi was designed to maximize profits with little concern for access or affordability.

These are both clear examples of why Congress must take further action to increase transparency and accountability in drug pricing. As a founding Member of the Affordable Drug Pricing Task Force I am committed to making sure that we take action on this important issue I have also supported negotiating drug prices under Medicare Part D, creating a non-profit Medicare Part D plan that would be administered by HHS, the re-importation of prescription drugs from Canada, requiring rebates on drugs covered by Medicare and Medicaid, reducing barriers that prohibit generics from entering the marketplace, and increasing drug pricing and cost transparency. Together we can work to ensure we bring transparency and accountability to drug pricing.


Related Article:

Wyden-Grassley Sovaldi Investigation Finds Revenue-Driven Pricing Strategy Behind $84,000 Hepatitis Drug