4 takeaways from Congress' drug price hearings

The House and Senate held separate hearings Jan. 29 to address high drug prices, according to STAT.

Four takeaways from the hearings:

1. Both hearings covered a broad range of industry topics, including direct-to-consumer drug ads, the drug patent system and the role of pharmacy benefit managers. Lawmakers invited drug company CEOs to testify at both hearings, but none accepted the offer.

2. During the House Oversight Committee's hearing, Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, proposed cutting exclusivity periods granted for new drugs. He also accused House Democrats of launching an investigation into high drug prices as "an attempt to score political points," instead of an honest effort to find answers, according to STAT.

3. The publication noted the Senate Finance Committee's hearing was more subdued and policy-focused than the House's. Senators on both sides of the aisle agreed on the need to end "anti-competitive" drug company behavior and reform Medicare's prescription drug benefit. They proposed paying physicians a flat rate for drugs administered through Medicare Part B. At present, physicians receive a percentage of the drug's price, which could encourage them to prescribe more expensive medications. 

4. Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, chairman of the Finance Committee, also denounced drug executives' lack of attendance at the hearing and vowed to investigate the high price of insulin.

To view STAT's full report on the hearings, click here.

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