Oversight Committee to Issue Subpoena to AbbVie Inc.
Washington, D.C. (Sept. 1, 2020)—Today, Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney, the Chairwoman of the Committee on Oversight and Reform, sent a memorandum notifying all Committee Members of her intent to issue a subpoena to AbbVie Inc. for documents as part of the Committee’s ongoing investigation of drug company pricing practices, which was initiated by former Chairman Elijah E. Cummings.
AbbVie sells Humira, the best-selling drug in the world with net revenues of more than $19.2 billion in 2019, to treat rheumatoid arthritis and other inflammatory diseases. The company also sells Imbruvica, which treats mantle cell lymphoma and generated net revenues of more than $4.6 billion last year.
“After more than 18 months, AbbVie has demonstrated its unwillingness to comply voluntarily with the Committee’s investigation,” Maloney wrote in the memo. “The volume and quality of AbbVie’s responses are inconsistent with the expected recordkeeping and decision-making processes of a large multi-national corporation regarding two of its most profitable drugs. In addition, the volume and quality of AbbVie’s responses are particularly poor in comparison to the documents produced by other companies that are the subject of the Committee’s investigation—particularly given that the Committee is examining two of AbbVie’s most profitable products.”
On January 14, 2019, Chairman Cummings announced that the Committee would be conducting an investigation of the pricing practices of 12 drug companies that sell 19 of the most expensive medications for patients, consumers, and taxpayers in the United States. Chairman Cummings wrote to AbbVie CEO Richard Gonzalez and others to request information on price increases, investments in research and development, and corporate strategies to preserve market share and pricing power for its medications.
On June 21, 2019, Chairman Cummings sent follow-up letters to all of the companies requesting voluntary compliance with the Committee’s requests. On September 27, 2019, he sent a third letter—only to AbbVie—warning that its responses were “woefully inadequate” and that the Committee would consider a subpoena if the company failed to provide complete responses.
“We depend on the pharmaceutical industry for life-saving drugs,” Chairwoman Maloney said in a statement issued in conjunction with the memo. “But the pricing practices of many drug companies are simply unsustainable for patients and our health care system, especially during this pandemic. Although most of the drug companies we are examining have cooperated with the Committee’s investigation, AbbVie’s noncompliance stands out as particularly egregious, which is why I am issuing this subpoena.”
Click here to read the memo.
Click here to read the subpoena.