Democrats press top pharmaceutical representative on price increases

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) arrives to the Senate Chamber for a series of votes regarding nominations on Tuesday, February 1, 2022.
Greg Nash

A group of Democratic lawmakers and independent Sen. Bernie Sanders (Vt.) on Tuesday called on the pharmaceutical industry to answer questions regarding the recent rise in drug prices.

As Reuters reported, 13 congressional lawmakers signed a letter to Stephen Ubl, president of the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA), asking that his organization explain the “troubling price increases for brand name drugs” last month.

In addition to Sanders, the lawmakers who signed the letter included Democratic Sens. Elizabeth Warren (Mass.) and Amy Klobuchar (Minn.) and Rep. Katie Porter (D-Calif.).

“The large, across-the-board price increases of popular, brand name prescription drugs appear to be an example of pharmaceutical companies taking advantage of their abusive market power to expand already large profits,” they wrote in their letter.

In their letter, they cited a recent study from the University of Minnesota that found drugmakers increased prices for 72 percent of the 100 top-selling drugs in the U.S. in early 2022. Another study cited by the lawmakers, from Johns Hopkins University, found that prices for 16 out of the top 20 Medicare Part D drugs were higher in January.

The Hill has reached out to PhRMA for comment.

In January, a group of 40 House Democrats pressed party leadership to act on measures to lower drug prices, an important policy goal for the Democratic Party, especially during an election year.

In their letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), the lawmakers said Democrats needed to follow through on their promise to “end Big Pharma’s monopoly control over prices and provide patients with much needed relief.”

Tags Amy Klobuchar Bernie Sanders Charles Schumer Chuck Schumer Drug prices Elizabeth Warren Nancy Pelosi Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America Pharmaceuticals policy
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