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 Bosher MaloneyPelosi, Democrats unveil bills to rein in alleged White House abuses of power Government watchdog recommends creation of White House cyber director position Top Democrats call for DOJ watchdog to probe Barr over possible 2020 election influence 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 CummingsBlack GOP candidate accuses Behar of wearing black face in heated interview Overnight Health Care: US won't join global coronavirus vaccine initiative | Federal panel lays out initial priorities for COVID-19 vaccine distribution | NIH panel: 'Insufficient data' to show treatment touted by Trump works House Oversight Democrats to subpoena AbbVie in drug pricing probe 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.