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Senate Health Committee to hold hearing on drug prices

Senate Health Committee to hold hearing on drug prices
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A Senate committee plans to hold a hearing on U.S. prescription drug prices.

Sen. Lamar AlexanderLamar AlexanderThe Republicans' deep dive into nativism Senate GOP faces retirement brain drain The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by the National Shooting Sports Foundation - CDC news on gatherings a step toward normality MORE (R-Tenn.), chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, in a letter Tuesday said the panel will schedule a hearing "in the near future" on the issue. 

The hearing was requested by a bipartisan group of lawmakers led by Sens. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) and Al FrankenAlan (Al) Stuart FrankenMaher chides Democrats: We 'suck the fun out of everything' Why Caitlyn Jenner should not be dismissed #MeWho? The hypocritical silence of Kamala Harris MORE (D-Minn.), both committee members.

The hearing will "help ensure that we are operating from similar understanding of the facts about drug spending, and help inform what other topics we may explore," Alexander wrote.

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Congressional outrage over rising prescription drug costs has been a bipartisan concern, but the parties are divided over whom to blame and solutions.

Democrats want greater price controls and want to allow certain drugs to be imported from overseas. Republicans want to increase competition in the marketplace and encourage the development of generic alternatives.

"Going forward, we need a comprehensive approach to identify trends related to growing drug spending, bring down overall health care costs, improve and reward quality, and promote innovation," Cassidy and Franken wrote.

The issue also has the attention of President Trump, who urged lawmakers to help bring down the cost of prescription drugs in his first address to a joint session of Congress.