House panel launches drug-pricing probe of 12 pharma companies

The House Oversight Committee is investigating 12 pharmaceutical companies and their drug pricing strategies, according to STAT.

The chairman of the committee, Elijah Cummings, D-Md., sent letters to the drugmakers Jan. 14 seeking information about their pricing practices, research and development investments, market share strategies and pricing power.

The drugmakers that received letters are among the largest in the world and include: AbbVie, Amgen, AstraZeneca, Celgene, Eli Lilly, Johnson & Johnson, Mallinckrodt, Novartis, Novo Nordisk, Pfizer, Sanofi and Teva Pharmaceuticals.

"For years, drug companies have been aggressively increasing prices on existing drugs and setting higher launch prices for new drugs while recording windfall profits," Mr. Cummings told STAT. "The goals of this investigation are to determine why drug companies are increasing prices so dramatically, how drug companies are using the proceeds, and what steps can be taken to reduce prescription drug prices."

Seven drugmakers received an information request for a single drug, three drugmakers received requests about three drugs and two had requests about two medications.

Many of the drugs the committee seeks information on include those that have raised concern over affordability and alleged price-gouging in the past, including Celgene's multiple myeloma drug, Revlimid, and AbbVie's arthritis medication, Humira.

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