Drugmakers were conspicuously absent from two drug pricing hearings on Capitol Hill last week, where lawmakers called out big pharma for setting high drug prices through manipulative means — and for refusing to show up to testify.
Senate Finance Committee, Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Ranking Member Ron Wyden (R-Ore.) called out pharmaceutical CEOs for declining to publicly testify before the committee. “Even the big tobacco companies were willing to come to Congress and testify, and they made a product that killed people,” Wyden said. “Nobody [on the committee] is going away, even if it means using our power to compel the drug company CEOs to show up,” Wyden said.
High drug prices cannot solely be laid at the feet of drug manufacturers, Peter B. Bach, director of the Center for Health Policy and Outcomes at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center told the Senate committee. “Although the lion’s share of pharmaceutical product revenues goes to their manufacturers, the distribution and payment system for pharmaceuticals does capture a meaningful share of total spending,” he said.