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 CummingsOvernight Health Care: Dem chair meets Trump health chief on drug prices | Trump officials sued over new Kentucky Medicaid work rules | Democrats vow to lift ban on federal funds for abortions Dem chairman Cummings meets with Trump health chief to discuss drug prices The Hill's Morning Report — No new negotiations as shutdown hits 25 days 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 Booker5 takeaways from Barr’s testimony Booker presses Barr on impact of mass incarceration on black Americans Barr: I wouldn't go after businesses relying on Obama-era marijuana policy MORE (D-N.J.), Bernie SandersBernard (Bernie) SandersBrown launches tour in four early nominating states amid 2020 consideration Gillibrand announces exploratory committee to run for president on Colbert Dem chairman Cummings meets with Trump health chief to discuss drug prices 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.