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Thu Jan 31, 2019, 06:51 AM

Drug company execs under pressure to testify

https://thehill.com/policy/healthcare/427764-drug-company-execs-under-pressure-to-testify

Drug company execs under pressure to testify

By Peter Sullivan - 01/31/19 06:00 AM EST

Drug company executives are resisting calls to testify publicly before a new GOP-led inquiry into their pricing practices, setting up a showdown with Senate Finance Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa).

The pressure for industry CEOs to appear before Congress is mounting as scrutiny on their business practices intensifies in Washington. On Tuesday, both the Democratic-led House Oversight and Reform Committee and the Republican-led Senate Finance Committee opened a series of hearings into drug prices. Grassley said he asked several drug companies to testify, with all but two small companies refusing.

The chairman’s request poses a tough choice for drug companies as they try to navigate congressional inquiries and risk being subpoenaed by lawmakers to force them into testifying.

Grassley said he would be “insistent” that drug company executives testify publicly. “They’ll appear,” Grassley said when asked about issuing a subpoena. “I don’t want to use that word because it’s a club that you shouldn’t have to use when you’ve got legitimate questions to ask on the basis of transparency.”
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It’s not just the Senate Finance Committee that is putting pressure on drug companies. On Wednesday, the House Energy and Commerce Committee sent letters to the three main companies making insulin — Eli Lilly, Novo Nordisk and Sanofi — pressing them for answers about the high cost of the crucial diabetes drug. And the House Oversight and Reform Committee sent letters earlier this month to 12 major drug companies seeking information on their pricing.
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