Drug prices to take center stage in first House Oversight hearing

Drug prices to take center stage in first House Oversight hearing
© Greg Nash

The House Oversight and Reform Committee will hold a hearing to examine drug price increases later this month, the committee’s first since Democrats took control of the House.

In a statement, Oversight and Reform Committee Chairman Elijah CummingsElijah Eugene CummingsCracks emerge in White House strategy as witness testifies Overnight Defense: Pentagon insists US hasn't abandoned Kurds | Trump expands sanctions authority against Turkey | Ex-Ukraine ambassador says Trump pushed for her ouster On The Money: Trump announces limited trade deal with China | Appeals court rules against Trump over financial records | Trump expands authority to sanction Turkey MORE (D-Md.) said the hearing will serve to launch a “broad review of the skyrocketing prices of prescription drugs.”

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Rising drug prices have been a central concern for Cummings, who has also vowed to bring pharmaceutical industry executives to testify in front of the committee.

On Thursday, Cummings joined Sens. Cory BookerCory Anthony BookerWarren defends, Buttigieg attacks in debate that shrank the field Warren leads in speaking time during debate Democrats wrangle over whether to break up Big Tech in debate first MORE (D-N.J.), Bernie SandersBernie SandersWarren defends, Buttigieg attacks in debate that shrank the field Five takeaways from the Democratic debate in Ohio New study: Full-scale 'Medicare for All' costs trillion over 10 years MORE (I-Vt.) and other Democrats to introduce legislation aimed at lowering prescription drug prices.

The three proposed bills would allow importation of cheaper drugs from Canada, allow Medicare to negotiate drug prices and strip monopolies from drug companies if their prices were above the average price in other wealthy countries.

Drug prices have spiked over the past decade, putting a pinch on consumers as wages have failed to keep pace with the hikes. The drug pricing is a bipartisan concern, but the parties are divided on how best to solve the issue.

Democrats want Medicare to negotiate prices and want to allow Americans to buy cheaper prescription drugs from abroad, policies that are staunchly opposed by pharmaceutical companies.

Democratic lawmakers say Republicans were too easy on the industry when they controlled the House, and have vowed that will change now that they are in charge.