Chairwoman Maloney Praises Reintroduction of Elijah E. Cummings Lower Drug Costs Now Act

Apr 22, 2021
Press Release

Washington, D.C. (Apr. 22, 2021)—Today, Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney, the Chairwoman of the Committee on Oversight and Reform, issued the following statement praising the reintroduction of H.R. 3, the Elijah E. Cummings Lower Drug Costs Now Act:

 

“I thank my colleagues for reintroducing the Elijah E. Cummings Lower Drug Costs Now Act.  This thoughtful legislation is just what Americans need.  Far too many households have to decide between paying for groceries, utilities, or prescriptions.  With H.R. 3, people will be able to better afford their prescriptions – a top issue of concern for our former Chairman, Elijah Cummings.  I proudly voted in favor of H.R. 3 last Congress, and I look forward to doing so again this Congress.  I urge my colleagues in the Senate to do the right thing and pass this bill so that we can finally address the high costs of prescription drugs.”

 

Background:

 

One of Rep. Cummings’ first acts as Committee Chairman was to launch a wide-ranging and in-depth investigation into why drug companies are raising prices and how to help families afford their medications.  In the last hearing he chaired, families spoke about the devastating impact of this crisis.

 

The Committee’s 18-month investigation resulted in two days of landmark hearings with drug company CEOs examining their price increases of the costliest drugs in the United States.  To date, the Committee has analyzed more than one million pages of documents and released five staff reports on the actions of Celgene and Bristol Myers SquibbTevaAmgenNovartis, and Mallinckrodt

 

H.R. 3 would directly remedy many of the abuses identified by the Committee’s investigation.  The Committee’s investigation has found that: 

 

  • Drug companies target the U.S. for price increases:  Internal documents show that companies raise prices for U.S. patients while maintaining or cutting prices for the rest of the world.  When confronted with these documents at the hearings, drug company executives acknowledged they charge U.S. patients more and were unable to provide any justification.

 

  • One Celgene presentation described the U.S. as a “highly favorable environment with free-market pricing.”
  • Another Teva presentation emphasized that one of its key strengths was its ability to “increase prices successfully,” which was “influenced heavily by US being allowed to hike prices.”

 

  • Drug companies exploit Medicare’s inability to negotiate:  Internal company data obtained by the Committee reveal that companies took advantage of Medicare’s inability to negotiate directly, costing patients and taxpayers billions of dollars.  One company even identified allowing Medicare to negotiate as the greatest threat to its future revenue.  If Medicare had received the same discounts as other government programs that can negotiate, Medicare would have saved:

 

  • $3.5 billion on Amgen’s drugs Enbrel and Sensipar from 2013 to 2018
  • $2.1 billion on Novartis’ drug Gleevec from 2011 to 2015
  • $1.4 billion on Teva’s drug Copaxone between 2010 and 2013
  • $656 million on Mallinckrodt’s drug H.P. Acthar Gel between 2015 and 2018

 

  • Drug companies’ R&D and other justifications are inconsistent with internal documents:

 

  • The hearings revealed that companies relied on federally funded research and the research of others to justify their price increases.  In total, the companies’ research expenditures for the drugs were miniscule compared to their net revenue.  For example, from 2002 to 2019, Teva spent only 2% of its U.S. net revenue from Copaxone on research related to the drug.
  • Internal documents also revealed that companies viewed their patient assistance programs and charitable donations as “investments” to generate additional sales.

 

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117th Congress