Senate to conduct investigation into Rx drug pricing

November 13, 2015

The U.S. Senate will conduct a bipartisan investigation into pharmaceutical drug prices following recent public and political outrage over drastic price increases for certain drugs.

The U.S. Senate will conduct a bipartisan investigation into pharmaceutical drug prices following recent public and political outrage over drastic price increases for certain drugs.

The Senate Special Committee on Aging has scheduled a hearing for December 9, 2015. The committee has sent letters to Valeant Pharmaceuticals, Turing Pharmaceuticals, Retrophin, and Rodelis Therapeutics requesting specific information.

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“Some of the recent actions we’ve seen in the pharmaceutical industry-with corporate acquisitions followed by dramatic increases in the prices of pre-existing drugs-have looked like little more than price gouging,” U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill, (D-Mo.) stated in a release.

“We need to get to the bottom of why we’re seeing huge spikes in drug prices that seemingly have no relationship to research and development costs. I’m proud to help lead this bipartisan investigation so that we can find some answers the public wants and deserves,” he added.

McCaskill and U.S. Senator Susan Collins (R-Maine), another member of Senate Special Committee on Aging, said the hearing would focus on drugs that have recently had significant price hikes.

“We seek your cooperation with this investigation so that the Committee may better understand drug pricing and related regulatory and public policy concerns,” the letter to Turing Pharmaceuticals CEO Martin Shkreli stated. “In particular, the Committee wishes to learn more about Turing Pharmaceuticals’ recent acquisition of the rights to sell Daraprim, a drug used to treat and prevent infections, from Impax Laboratories and Turing’s subsequent decision to increase the price of Daraprim from $13.50 to $750 [per tablet].”

 

Among other things, McCaskill and Collins said the investigation will examine price increases on recently acquired off-patent drugs; mergers and acquisitions within the pharmaceutical industry that have sometimes led to dramatic increases in off-patent drug prices; and FDA’s role in the drug approval process for generic drugs.

According to the Senate Special Committee on Aging, seniors account for 34% of the all prescriptions and more than 40% of seniors take five or more prescriptions daily.

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