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 WaldenHillicon Valley: House lawmakers reach deal on robocall bill | Laid-off journalists launch ads targeting tech giants | Apple seeks tariff exemptions | Facebook's Libra invites scrutiny Bipartisan House lawmakers announce compromise anti-robocall bill Key senators release bipartisan package to lower health care costs 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 TrumpNew EPA rule would expand Trump officials' powers to reject FOIA requests Democratic senator introduces bill to ban gun silencers Democrats: Ex-Commerce aide said Ross asked him to examine adding census citizenship question 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 BurgessGOP rep: Children are free to leave migrant camps at 'any time' Bipartisan House panel leaders ask agencies for maternal mortality data Overnight Health Care — Presented by PCMA — Sanders to roll out 'Medicare for all' bill | Dems target Juul over Altria ties | Measles cases spike nationwide 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.