Cummings plans to call pharma executives to testify about drug costs

Cummings plans to call pharma executives to testify about drug costs
© Aaron Schwartz

House Oversight and Reform Committee Chairman Elijah CummingsElijah Eugene CummingsCongressional investigation finds Coast Guard leadership fell short on handling bullying Trump request for Ukrainian 'favor' tops notable quote list Impeachment can't wait MORE (D-Md.) said he plans to call drug company executives to testify when the House returns from recess in September.

Cummings made the announcement at the end of an emotional hearing Friday about the impact of high drug costs on patients.

"I want to tell you, this may make you feel some hope: We’re going to have the drug company folks sitting in the same seats as soon as we come back," Cummings told witnesses. "And we’re going to try to understand some of why they're doing what they're doing."

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A committee spokesperson did not have any details on which companies Cummings plans to invite or when the hearing will be scheduled. House lawmakers on Thursday held the chamber's last votes before a lengthy August recess.  

Rising drug prices have been a central concern for Cummings. The committee launched a wide-ranging investigation into high drug costs in January, and has examined documents obtained from drugmakers. But pharmaceutical executives have not yet testified.

In April, Cummings accused the panel's ranking member, Rep. Jim JordanJames (Jim) Daniel JordanDemocrats object to Meadows passing note to Jordan from dais Live coverage: House panel debates articles of impeachment Horowitz to appear before second Senate panel next week MORE (R-Ohio), of obstructing the investigation after Jordan and Rep. Mark MeadowsMark Randall MeadowsThe Hill's 12:30 Report — Presented by UANI — Sparks fly as House Judiciary debates impeachment articles Democrats object to Meadows passing note to Jordan from dais Meadows says he's advocating for Trump to add Alan Dershowitz to impeachment defense team MORE (R-N.C.) warned a dozen different drug company executives that Cummings was conducting a partisan investigation, essentially telling them not to participate.

Drug company executives were grilled by Senate Finance Committee members earlier this year, as a prelude to the panel's drug pricing legislation, which was introduced this week. The executives blamed insurers and pharmacy benefit managers for high drug costs.