The Washington Post (12/9, Johnson) “Wonkblog” reports that an investigation by the Senate Special Committee on Aging “kicked off Wednesday with specialists from all corners of the [healthcare] system testifying that they’re powerless to manage the out-of-control prescription costs.” According to the Washington Post, a recurring theme at the hearing “was that competition had dried up, resulting in a broken system that allowed some older drug prices to spiral out of control in ways that called for government to intervene.”
The New York Times (12/10, B3, Pollack, Subscription Publication) reports that the hearing “focused on two companies in particular, Turing Pharmaceuticals…and Valeant Pharmaceuticals International.” Lawmakers from both parties “denounced huge overnight price increases for decades-old drugs that have been made by some pharmaceutical companies lately, calling them unconscionable and detrimental to patients.” The Times adds, “Most of the hearing, which was described as the first in a series, was devoted to looking at the impact of the sudden price increases on doctors, patients, and hospitals.”
USA Today (12/10, McCoy) reports that lawmakers at the hearing “raised the prospect of adding new pricing rules to the [F]ederal government’s existing drug oversight system.”
The AP (12/10, Gordon) reports that the Senate committee, “which oversees Social Security, Medicare and other programs for seniors, doesn’t have authority to write laws but often investigates industries that market to seniors.”
The Washington Examiner (12/10, Bedard) reports that Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME), the chairwoman of the committee, said, “There is clearly a greater role for the FDA here.” According to the Washington Examiner, “the next hearing in the Senate committee’s investigation could delve deeper into possible solutions the FDA could implement.”
Also covering the story are Bloomberg News (12/10, Tracer), Reuters (12/10, Lynch, Berkrot), NPR (12/10, Kodjak), The Hill (12/10, Ferris), Congressional Quarterly (12/10, Siddons, Subscription Publication), Fortune (12/10, Lorenzetti), and US News & World Report (12/10, Sternberg).