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Republican chairman wants FTC to review mergers of drug price negotiators

Republican chairman wants FTC to review mergers of drug price negotiators

House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Greg WaldenGregory (Greg) Paul WaldenPuerto Ricans may have elected Rick Scott and other midterm surprises GOP lawmaker pushes back on Trump drug pricing proposal Dems to ramp up oversight of Trump tech regulators 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 TrumpJoaquín Castro: Trump would be 'in court right now' if he weren't the president or 'privileged' Trump flubs speech location at criminal justice conference Comey reveals new details on Russia probe during House testimony 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 HarperDems cry foul in undecided N.C. race Mississippi New Members 2019 GOP lawmakers urge improvements to cyber vulnerabilities resource MORE (Miss.) and Michael BurgessMichael Clifton BurgessOvernight Health Care: House set to vote on bill targeting drug companies for overcharging Medicaid | Dems press Trump officials on pre-existing conditions | Tobacco giant invests .8B in Canadian marijuana grower GOP struggles to find right Republican for Rules Cards Against Humanity offering midterm expansion pack in effort to back Dems in key races 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.