Republican chairman wants FTC to review mergers of drug price negotiators

Republican chairman wants FTC to review mergers of drug price negotiators
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House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Greg WaldenGregory (Greg) Paul WaldenOvernight Energy: Trump rolls back Obama-era fuel efficiency standards | Controversial Keystone XL construction to proceed | Pressure mounts to close national parks amid pandemic Infrastructure bill gains new steam as coronavirus worsens Critics blast Trump mileage rollback, citing environment and health concerns MORE (R-Ore.) on Friday requested a review of mergers by drug price negotiators, questioning whether the moves had driven up costs for patients.

Walden wrote to the Federal Trade Commission requesting a review looking at recent mergers of companies known as pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs), which negotiate prices with drug manufacturers.

In the letter, Walden said that while there is “conflicting information” on the impact of these mergers, he fears some companies could have “used their market power to try to increase their profits and that PBMs have encouraged higher list prices for prescription drugs that increase co-pays for patients.”

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The letter comes amid increased scrutiny of high drug prices. President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump fires intelligence community inspector general who flagged Ukraine whistleblower complaint Trump organization has laid off over 1000 employees due to pandemic: report Trump invokes Defense Production Act to prevent export of surgical masks, gloves MORE has been calling out drug companies by name on Twitter, and his administration recently floated the possibility of allowing the importation of drugs to increase competition when there are price spikes.

The letter from Walden, which was also signed by GOP Reps. Gregg HarperGregory (Gregg) Livingston HarperCongress sends bill overhauling sexual harassment policy to Trump's desk Dems cry foul in undecided N.C. race Mississippi New Members 2019 MORE (Miss.) and Michael BurgessMichael Clifton BurgessOvernight Health Care — Presented by Partnership for America's Health Care Future — Juul pitched products to Native American tribes | Vaping execs deny deliberately targeting young people | Republicans seek hearing on Medicaid block grants Overnight Health Care: Big Pharma looks to stem losses after trade deal defeat | House panel to examine federal marijuana policies | House GOP reopens investigation into opioid manufacturers Lawmakers express alarm over rise in cocaine overdose deaths MORE (Texas), focuses more on PBMs, which have also come under scrutiny for a lack of transparency in setting prices.

Some drug pricing advocates, however, say the focus should be on drug companies that initially set the prices.