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Oversight Republicans accuse Cummings of partisan drug pricing probe

The top Republican on the House Oversight and Reform Committee on Friday accused 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Lawmakers press AbbVie CEO on increased US prices of two drugs Overnight Health Care: AstraZeneca may have included outdated data on vaccine trial, officials say | Pelosi says drug pricing measure under discussion for infrastructure package | Biden administration extends special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.) of conducting a partisan investigation into drug prices, and sent a letter alerting a dozen different pharmaceutical companies about his concerns.

Rep. Jim JordanJames (Jim) Daniel JordanHillicon Valley: Cyber agency says SolarWinds hack could have been deterred | Civil rights groups urge lawmakers to crack down on Amazon's 'dangerous' worker surveillance | Manchin-led committee puts forth sprawling energy infrastructure proposal White House slaps down Jim Jordan attack on gas prices GOP divided over bills targeting tech giants MORE (R-Ohio), the committee’s ranking member, along with Rep. Mark MeadowsMark MeadowsHead of firms that pushed 'Italygate' theory falsely claimed VA mansion was her home: report The Hill's Morning Report - Dems to go-it-alone on infrastructure as bipartisan plan falters Trump, allies pressured DOJ to back election claims, documents show MORE (R-N.C.) said Cummings did not consult with Republicans before launching an investigation into the pricing practices of prescription drug companies.

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“We hope to persuade Chairman Cummings to work with us on this matter but, in the interim, we felt that it was prudent to raise these issues with you directly,” Jordan and Meadows wrote to the industry executives.

The lawmakers said they were concerned by recent comments Cummings made about the committee's investigation impacting the stock prices of drug companies.

“While we cannot speculate about Chairman Cummings’s motives, we believe the Committee should not pursue an investigation to 'impact ... stock prices with regard to drugs' — especially when there is bipartisan interest in real oversight of rising prescription drug prices,” Jordan and Meadows wrote.

In a statement to The Hill, Cummings said he doesn't understand why Jordan is trying to protect drug companies.

“Rep. Jordan is on the absolute wrong side here — he would rather protect drug company ‘stock prices’ than the interests of the American people," Cummings said. "I don’t know why on earth House Republicans keep going to the mat to protect drug company profits instead of the families in their own districts who are getting hammered every single day. Even President TrumpDonald TrumpWhat blue wave? A close look at Texas today tells of a different story Democrats go down to the wire with Manchin Trump's former bodyguard investigated in NY prosectors' probe: report MORE agrees that drug companies are ‘getting away with murder,’ so why don’t House Republicans?”

In January, Cummings launched a sweeping investigation into the prescription drug industry’s pricing practices, and sent letters to a dozen different companies seeking detailed information and documents on price increases, investments in research and development and corporate strategies to preserve market share and pricing power.

Cummings asked the companies for information about some of the drugs most often cited as examples of alleged industry price gouging, including Humira, AbbVie’s arthritis medicine.

Jordan and Meadows indicated they were worried Cummings might decide to publicly release that proprietary business information, even though it could harm the company's competitiveness.

The two specifically cited what they said was Cummings’s unilateral decision earlier this month to release excerpts of closed-door testimony from Tricia Newbold, a White House whistleblower who told the committee about alleged failures in the current security clearance process.

Newbold testified that Trump administration officials overruled her and other career officials in 25 instances in order to grant clearances to officials and contractors despite there being “disqualifying issues” in their backgrounds.

Jordan and other Republicans have accused Cummings of cherry-picking information from Newbold in order to smear the Trump White House.

Updated 2:27 p.m.