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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 CummingsDemocrats plot next move after GOP sinks Jan. 6 probe Lawmakers press AbbVie CEO on increased US prices of two drugs Overnight Health Care: AstraZeneca may have included outdated data on vaccine trial, officials say | Pelosi says drug pricing measure under discussion for infrastructure package | Biden administration extends special ObamaCare enrollment until August 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 BookerThousands sent to emergency rooms every year due to violent police encounters: investigation Democrats fear they are running out of time on Biden agenda Harris casts tiebreaking vote to confirm OPM nominee MORE (D-N.J.), Bernie SandersBernie SandersSenators say White House aides agreed to infrastructure 'framework' Briahna Joy Gray: Biden is keeping the filibuster to have 'a Joe Manchin presidency' On The Money: Biden to fire FHFA director after Supreme Court removes restriction | Yellen pleads with Congress to raise debt ceiling 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.