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 CummingsDemocrat Kweisi Mfume wins House primary in Maryland Key races to watch in Tuesday's primaries The Postal Service collapse that isn't happening 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 BookerPaul clashes with Booker, Harris over anti-lynching bill Democratic senators kneel during moment of silence for George Floyd Rand Paul holding up quick passage of anti-lynching bill MORE (D-N.J.), Bernie SandersBernie SandersOVERNIGHT ENERGY: Trump signs order removing environmental reviews for major projects | New Trump air rule will limit future pollution regulations, critics say | DNC climate group calls for larger federal investment on climate than Biden plan Google: Chinese and Iranian hackers targeting Biden, Trump campaigns Sanders: Police departments that violate civil rights should lose federal funding 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.