Congress in­ves­ti­gat­ing role of gener­ics, M&A in high drug costs

Modern Healthcare - - THE WEEK AHEAD - —Shan­non Much­more

Congress is gear­ing up to in­ves­ti­gate the role that generic drugs, merg­ers and ac­qui­si­tions within the phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal industry and FDA pro­cesses have had in skyrocketing drug prices.

An HHS fo­rum this month will be an­other of many dis­cus­sions on the Hill re­gard­ing pre­scrip­tion drug costs. The in­vite-only fo­rum on Nov. 20 will touch on drug in­no­va­tion, value-based pur­chas­ing pro­grams and pa­tient-ac­cess is­sues. It will in­volve con­sumers, man­u­fac­tur­ers, health in­sur­ance com­pa­nies, health­care providers, em­ploy­ers and gov­ern­ment rep­re­sen­ta­tives.

Next month, the Sen­ate Spe­cial Com­mit­tee on Aging will zero in on com­pa­nies un­der fire, such as Valeant Pharmaceuticals, which slashed re­search and de­vel­op­ment fund­ing while mas­sively in­creas­ing prices and fo­cus­ing al­most ex­clu­sively on profit. Tur­ing Pharmaceuticals has also re­ceived heat for ac­quir­ing an anti-par­a­sitic drug and im­me­di­ately rais­ing the price from $13.50 a pill to about $750.

Democrats on the House Com­mit­tee on Over­sight and Gov­ern­ment Re­form re­cently asked com­mit­tee lead­er­ship to con­sider sub­poe­naing Valeant CEO Michael Pear­son and Tur­ing CEO Martin Shkreli.

The in­ves­ti­ga­tions come amid pub­lic frus­tra­tion over drug prices. Re­cent Kaiser Fam­ily Foundation sur­veys have found the is­sue as the top health­care con­cern among con­sumers.

Ac­tivists hold signs with im­age of Tur­ing

Pharmaceuticals CEO Martin Shkreli in

front of the build­ing that houses his

of­fices in New York.

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