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 CummingsTurkey sanctions face possible wall in GOP Senate Cher offers to pay legal fees for security guard fired for repeating racial slur Baltimore mayor looks to rename downtown courthouse after Cummings 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 JordanTrump embarks on Twitter spree amid impeachment inquiry, Syria outrage Testimony from GOP diplomat complicates Trump defense The Hill's Morning Report - Tempers boil over at the White House MORE (R-Ohio), of obstructing the investigation after Jordan and Rep. Mark MeadowsMark Randall MeadowsTestimony from GOP diplomat complicates Trump defense Obama: Cummings showed us 'the importance of checks and balances' The Hill's Morning Report - Tempers boil over at the White House 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.