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 CummingsKey races to watch in Tuesday's primaries The Postal Service collapse that isn't happening House Democrat reintroduces bill to reduce lobbyist influence 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 JordanThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - George Floyd's death sparks protests, National Guard activation Hillicon Valley: Trump signs order targeting social media legal protections | House requests conference with Senate after FISA vote canceled | Minneapolis systems temporarily brought down by hackers House punts on FISA, votes to begin negotiations with Senate MORE (R-Ohio), of obstructing the investigation after Jordan and Rep. Mark MeadowsMark Randall MeadowsHow Trump cleared the park around the White House for church photo op Trump visits historic DC church after protesters cleared with tear gas Trump to return to Florida for rescheduled SpaceX launch 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.