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Cummings Tweets at President Trump to Urge Immediate Action to Lower Drug Prices

Sep 28, 2017
Press Release

Cummings Tweets at President Trump to Urge Immediate Action to Lower Drug Prices

 

Washington, DC (Sept. 28, 2017)—Today, Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, the Ranking Member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, sent multiple tweets directly to President Donald Trump urging him to take immediate action to lower the price of a Multiple Sclerosis (MS) drug that the U.S. government owns, but licenses to a drug company that is charging an outrageous $87,000 per year:

 

 

The letter Cummings referred to was sent to the White House and the Department of Health and Human Services earlier this month by the non-profit group Knowledge Ecology International (KEI).

 

KEI’s letter explains that the U.S. government owns the patent for Zinbryta and licensed it to Biogen in 2016, which co-promotes it with AbbVie.  The companies charge $87,000 per year for the drug—3  to 4 times the amount charged in foreign countries.

 

KEI urged the Trump Administration to lower the price of Zinbryta by authorizing generic competition for the drug, exercising its “march in” rights to license the drug to another company, or simply terminating Biogen’s license.

 

On August 17, 2017, Cummings and Rep. Peter Welch of Vermont, a senior Democrat on both the Oversight Committee and the Committee on Energy and Commerce, launched an investigation of skyrocketing prices for MS drugs and sent letters to seven pharmaceutical companies—including Biogen—requesting information about their pricing strategies.

 

Cummings and Welch met with President Trump on March 8 to discuss the skyrocketing costs of prescription drugs and presented the President with draft legislation to allow Medicare to negotiate lower drug prices—a proposal that the President said he backs and that the American people overwhelmingly support.

 

The President seemed enthusiastic about the proposal and even called Cummings after the meeting to confirm his interest in working together, but the Members never heard anything more from his staff.

 

On April 20, Cummings and Welch sent a letter to President Trump reiterating their request to work with him on this issue, but to date the President has done nothing related to the legislative proposal.

115th Congress