February 04, 2016

Prescription Drug Prices Often “Sickening and Immoral”

Alliance Submits Letter to House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform

Prescription drug prices are the subject of a much-awaited hearing before the U.S. House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform today. The scheduled star witness is Martin Shkreli, the former CEO of Turing Pharmaceutical. He made headlines for raising the price of Daraprim – often used to treat HIV and AIDS – from $13.50 to $750 per pill. Shkreli will take the Fifth Amendment and refuse to answer questions. He is under indictment on federal securities fraud charges.

The Alliance wrote to Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) and Ranking Member Elijah Cummings (D-MD) just before the hearing to express deep concerns over what is an alarming trend – the exorbitant increases in drug prices for off patent drugs.

During a recent Senate Aging Committee hearing several suggestions were discussed to stop this abuse. These included developing a registry of off-patent drugs and providing for a priority review process to help expedite the Food and Drug Administration’s approval process of generics in these cases.

“The revelations last year that pharmaceutical companies and their hedge fund managers were buying the rights to off-patent drugs to make money is sickening and immoral,” the letter from Executive Director Richard Fiesta to Chaffetz and Cummings declared.

Drug companies have callously decided to increase the price of drugs, some by as much as 5,000 percent, for no other reason than greed, and without taking into consideration the effect it would have on patients.

Many of these drugs, which have been around for years and were relatively inexpensive, are used to treat patients with heart ailments, cancer and HIV.  These are the sickest and frailest of patients but often find themselves with no alternatives and unable to afford the drugs.

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