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Cummings Issues Detailed Statement on New Report on Skyrocketing Drug Prices

Aug 20, 2015
Press Release

Cummings Issues Detailed Statement on New Report on Skyrocketing Drug Prices

 

Washington, D.C. (Aug. 20, 2015)—Today, Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, Ranking Member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, issued the following statement in response to a new report from the Kaiser Family Foundation reporting that Republican voters are more concerned about escalating prescription drug prices than the Affordable Care Act:

"This new report from the Kaiser Family Foundation confirms broadly what we have seen right here in the House of Representatives.

“In my capacity as Ranking Member of the Oversight Committee, I have been spearheading the investigation of skyrocketing prescription drug prices since last year, writing letters to drug companies, consulting with experts, testifying before the Senate, introducing legislation, and trying to help American families on this core healthcare and pocketbook issue.  This has been one of my top priorities.

“Since Democrats are in the minority, however, I have urged my Republican colleagues—privately, publicly, and in any way I can—to investigate this issue.  Unfortunately, congressional Republicans have taken no significant action to help consumers who are facing increasing prices for critical life-saving drugs.  

“I am particularly discouraged that Chairman Chaffetz and his staff have declined multiple, repeated, detailed requests from me to take action on this issue over the past year, especially since we have been able to work together on so many other issues in a bipartisan way.  This may be one substantive issue on which we respectfully disagree.

“Perhaps after reading the stark results of this report, congressional Republicans will see that this issue is critical to their own constituents, they will change their minds, and they will finally listen to Democratic requests for action.  But unless things change, American families must rely on Democrats to help them in this fight.”

Just last week, Cummings sent a letter to Valeant Pharmaceuticals along with Senator Bernie Sanders requesting information about the escalating prices the company has been charging for two heart drugs it purchased from another drug company earlier this year.

In May, Cummings introduced H.R. 2391, the Medicaid Generic Drug Price Fairness Act, which would extend to generic drugs the current law requirement for brand-name drug manufacturers to pay rebates to Medicaid when prices increase at rates greater than inflation.

In February, Cummings pressed the Committee to adopt in its Oversight Plan for the 114th Congress an investigation of price increases for certain generic drugs, a proposal that was adopted unanimously at the time.  

In November 2014, Cummings appeared at a hearing before the Senate Subcommittee on Primary Health and Aging, testifying:  “People have been coming out in droves to warn us about the staggering price increases they are now facing for drugs they rely on every single day.  We have heard from patients, doctors, pharmacist, hospitals, providers, and group purchasing organizations—all raising the alarm.”

With respect to today’s Kaiser report, press accounts reported that “even GOP voters are more concerned about curbing drug prices than dislodging the president’s signature health program.”

In addition, “Nearly three-quarters of Americans think drug prices are unreasonably high—and most blame that on drug companies’ drive for profits. That’s true among Republicans, Democrats and independents—a rare point of accord in politics.”

114th Congress