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House Oversight Democrats to subpoena AbbVie in drug pricing probe

House Oversight Democrats to subpoena AbbVie in drug pricing probe
© Roll Call/Pool

House Oversight and Reform Committee Democrats are planning to subpoena drug manufacturer AbbVie for documents related to two of its most popular products as part of the panel's investigation into rising drug prices. 

"After more than 18 months, AbbVie has demonstrated its unwillingness to comply voluntarily with the Committee’s investigation,” committee Chairwoman Carolyn MaloneyCarolyn MaloneyHillicon Valley: House targets tech giants with antitrust bills | Oversight chair presses JBS over payment to hackers | Trump spokesman to join tech company | YouTube suspends GOP senator Teamsters refused to pay a ransomware attack in 2019 Oversight chair presses JBS on why it paid ransom over cyberattack MORE (D-N.Y.) wrote in a memo announcing the subpoena.  

"Although most of the drug companies we are examining have cooperated with the committee's investigation, AbbVie's noncompliance stands out as particularly egregious, which is why I am issuing this subpoena," Maloney said.

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AbbVie sells Humira, the best-selling drug in the world with net revenue of more than $19.2 billion in 2019, to treat rheumatoid arthritis and other inflammatory diseases.  

The committee is also seeking information on Imbruvica, which treats mantle cell lymphoma and generated net revenue of more than $4.6 billion last year.

In a statement, AbbVie said it was "surprised and disappointed" by the subpoena, because the company had been cooperating with the committee's investigation.

"In fact, we’ve provided thousands of documents and have had numerous conversations with the Committee staff. While we are surprised and disappointed the Committee chose to take this action, we will continue to work in good faith with them on this important subject," a company spokeswoman said. 

The sweeping investigation was initially launched at the start of 2019 by the committee's late chairman, Rep. 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Lawmakers press AbbVie CEO on increased US prices of two drugs Overnight Health Care: AstraZeneca may have included outdated data on vaccine trial, officials say | Pelosi says drug pricing measure under discussion for infrastructure package | Biden administration extends special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.). The committee sought data from a dozen different companies about how they price their medications.

Maloney said she has been unimpressed by AbbVie's response.

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"The volume and quality of AbbVie’s responses are inconsistent with the expected recordkeeping and decision-making processes of a large multinational corporation regarding two of its most profitable drugs," Maloney said.

Updated at 2:49 p.m.