After the late Rep. Elijah Cummings launched a drug pricing probe of some of the industry’s largest players last January, six pharmaceutical execs are set to head to Washington next week for hearings at the House Committee on Oversight and Reform.
Current and former executives from Celgene, Bristol Myers Squibb, Teva, Amgen, Mallinckrodt and Novartis will testify next Wednesday and Thursday on pricing and competition in the drug industry. The committee has also said it’ll subpoena AbbVie about Imbruvica and Humira, two pricey megablockbusters protected by dozens of patents.
At Wednesday’s hearing, former Celgene chief Mark Alles will testify along with Bristol Myers CEO Giovanni Caforio and Teva helmsman Kåre Schultz. Celgene marketed the cancer medicine Revlimid before the biotech sold to BMS, while Teva sells multiple sclerosis drug Copaxone, the committee noted, hinting at the focus of its questioning.
On Thursday, the committee will host Amgen CEO Robert Bradway, Mallinckrodt CEO Mark Trudeau and Novartis U.S. president Thomas Kendris. Amgen sells Enbrel and Sensipar, the committee points out, while Mallinckrodt sells H.P. Acthar Gel—a longtime target of pricing scrutiny—and Novartis sells Gleevec.
The drugmakers market “critical” medicines, but “their skyrocketing prices are simply unsustainable,” chairwoman Carolyn Maloney said in a statement. The committee’s probe centers on pharma’s pricing practices, companies’ use of profits and steps that can be taken to bring costs down.
Back in January 2019, Rep. Cummings started the probe by focusing on 19 of the most profitable medicines in the U.S. He had trouble getting the companies to cooperate initially, and after several months, he reached out to the drugmakers to let them know they had failed to adequately respond.
AbbVie stood out among peers in its deficient responses, the committee said earlier this month, so it planned a subpoena. The company said it was ” surprised and disappointed” about the news, but that it would “continue to work in good faith with them on this important subject.”
The committee has reviewed more than a million pages of corporate documents for its probe.