US Senate committee launches investigation into drug pricing

BMJ 2015; 351 doi: (Published 09 November 2015) Cite this as: BMJ 2015;351:h5989
  1. Michael McCarthy
  1. 1Seattle

In response to reports that several drug companies have substantially jacked up prices by as much as 5000% after acquiring rights to older off-patent drugs, a US Senate committee has launched an investigation into pricing of prescription drugs.

The bipartisan investigation by the Senate Special Committee on Aging will be led by Senator Claire McCaskill, a Democrat from Missouri, and Senator Susan Collins, a Maine Republican.

In a statement announcing the investigation, McCaskill said that the recent price increases seemed to have no relation to research and development costs. She said, “Some of the recent actions we’ve seen in the pharmaceutical industry—with corporate acquisitions followed by dramatic increases in the prices of pre-existing drugs—have looked like little more than price gouging.”

The investigation will look at increases in prices of recently acquired off-patent drugs; mergers and acquisitions within the …

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