Cummings Commends President for Executive Order on Shortage Drugs
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Washington, DC—Today, Rep. Elijah Cummings, Ranking Member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, issued the following statement in response to the President's executive order regarding the shortage of certain prescription drugs and the need to examine potential price gouging:
“I commend the President for his actions today to help patients obtain lifesaving drugs that are in critically short supply. In addition to ensuring that these drugs are available for patients who need them, we must ensure that so-called 'gray market' middleman companies are not gouging patients by charging exorbitant rates.”
“The idea that some companies may be taking advantage of cancer patients and others in such vulnerable positions is criminal, and we are taking action to get to the bottom of this.”
For example, Jay Cuetara, the 49-year-old cancer patient who appeared with the President in the Oval Office today, had his chemotherapy treatment delayed in August because of a shortage of fluorouracil. Our investigation has determined that gray market companies have offered this drug for over $350 per vial, more than 23 times a typical sales price.
Cummings has been investigating gray market drug companies for several months. On October 5, 2011, he sent letters to five gray market drug companies seeking information about who they purchased their drugs from, how much they paid for them, and how much they charged in subsequent sales.