US lawmakers slam three Big Pharma companies for ‘stonewalling’ drug pricing probe 


 The head of the US House of Representative’s oversight panel on Wednesday called on three drugmakers to turn over documents as part of an ongoing congressional review over generic drug price increases. 

US House Oversight Chairman Elijah Cummings also accused the companies of ‘apparent efforts to stonewall’ the probe.

Although the inquiry started in 2014, it has not yet slowed drug price hikes of which there have already been 17 percent more in 2019 than in 2019, with increases up to five-fold the rate of inflation.  

Cummings, alongside Senator Bernie Sanders, the ranking member on the Senate Budget Committee, sent the letters to Myla, Teva and privately held Heritage Pharmaceuticals, the lawmakers said in a statement.

Mylan denied obstructing the inquiry and said it was prepared to make its case in a court of law, while Teva said it continues to fully cooperate with the investigations. 

Mylan’s shares fell 7.7 precent to $18.20 and Teva’s US-listed shares slid eight percent to $6.48 in late-morning trade.

‘Mylan has provided extensive documentation to investigating authorities and will continue to cooperate,’ a company spokeswoman said.

The lawmakers first launched the probe in 2014. 

Earlier this year, 44 states filed a complaint in federal court alleging drug price fixing by the three pharmaceutical companies and other drugmakers, according to the statement.

‘With assistance from outside counsel, we thoroughly investigated allegations made against our company and employees in the civil complaint filed by various state attorneys general, including the most recent allegation relating to obstruction,’ Mylan spokeswoman said.

Now Cummings and Sanders said they were ‘opening an investigation into the companies’ apparent coordinated obstruction of the investigation as revealed by,’ the states’ lawsuit.

‘Not only did your company’s apparent obstruction undermine our investigation, but it may have caused further harm to patients and health care providers by delaying the discovery of evidence about the companies’ price-fixing,’ Cummings and Sanders wrote.

Sanders, who is among those seeking the Democratic presidential nomination for the 2020 election, has made health care and drug prices a cornerstone of his campaign. 

(Reporting by Susan Heavey; Additional reporting by Tamara Mathias and Manas Mishra in Bengaluru; editing by Jason Neely, Chizu Nomiyama and Shailesh Kuber)


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