Pharmaceutical CEOs testify before Senate panel on drug prices | full video
‘Yesterday, I held a hearing in the Senate HELP Committee on the outrageous prices Americans pay for prescription drugs. It’s time for the CEOs of Big Pharma to put the health of the American people over the wealth of their stockholders.’ Bernie Sanders
Big Pharma spends billions more on executives and stockholders than on R&D Senate report points to greed and “patent thickets” as key reasons for high prices.’ See Ars Technica for some shocking details
A recent Senate committee hearing on prescription drug prices transformed into a heated debate on the role of capitalism in medicine and drug development. On February 8, drug company CEOs faced scrutiny as Senator Bernie Sanders sought answers about the reasons behind soaring drug costs and sought commitments to lower medication prices. ‘Big Pharma is charging Americans the highest drug prices in the WORLD, and still, these ultra-wealthy corporations are huffing and puffing over President Biden’s efforts to bring down sky-high costs on essential medications for our seniors.’ Accountable US
For too long, Big Pharma has put profits over people, putting lifesaving medication out of reach for millions of Americans. Democrats said no more, and passed the #InflationReductionAct. Now, Medicare is negotiating the prices of common, costly drugs for the first time EVER- Rep. Gwen Moore
During the hearing held by the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, Mr. Sanders grilled the CEOs of Merck, Johnson & Johnson, and Bristol Myers Squibb on the significant price disparities between their pharmaceuticals in the United States compared to other countries. He specifically targeted medications such as Eliquis, a blood thinner from Bristol Myers Squibb; Keytruda, a cancer therapy from Merck; and Stelara, an arthritis medication from Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson.
Senator Sanders, a vocal critic of pharmaceutical pricing strategies, reiterated his concerns during the hearing. Despite persistent questioning, none of the executives provided assurances of lowering or halting the increase of drug prices.
Big Pharma CEOs did exactly what they always do: Claim they can’t reduce drug prices for struggling Americans while spending billions making themselves and their shareholders richer https://t.co/AK7MZerXW6 pic.twitter.com/v1om7YXR6E
— Public Citizen (@Public_Citizen) February 9, 2024
Mr. Sanders accused the pharmaceutical industry of being the primary beneficiary of high drug prices in America. He asserted, “The United States government does not regulate drug companies. With a few exceptions, the drug companies regulate the United States government.” The Democrat Party and Media have also greatly benefited from Big Pharma. This is something Sanders likes to ignore, but Big Media is all too compliant to help Big Pharma spread lies and propaganda in order to sell products.
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Chris Boerner, CEO of Bristol Myers Squibb, faced a direct question from Senator Sanders about reducing the list price of Eliquis in the U.S. to match the price in Canada. However, Mr. Boerner cited the different healthcare systems in the two countries and the challenges posed by intermediary entities, such as pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs), who receive significant rebates that do not contribute to lowering medicine prices.
In response to Democratic queries, the CEOs consistently pointed to the complexities of the U.S. healthcare system, attributing significant variations in list prices to the structure of the system. They argued that although list prices have risen, their revenues have not increased proportionally, with a larger share going to PBMs as rebates. Notice how they always talk of the complexities.
Drug companies are keeping prices sky-high by playing games with the system, filing dozens – even hundreds – of frivolous patents that lock in their exclusive right to sell their drug for decades. We must keep standing up to Big Pharma to break up patent abuses and lower costs. pic.twitter.com/TIX3xKK0zi
— Sen. Maggie Hassan (@SenatorHassan) February 8, 2024
On the other side of the aisle, Senator Bill Cassidy, the ranking Republican on the panel, accused Senator Sanders of conducting a show trial and wasting time. He criticized the hearing, stating, “This committee has devolved into CEO whack-a-mole with little to show.” Senator Cassidy expressed skepticism about the motives behind the hearing, suggesting it might be aimed at generating social media clips rather than addressing substantive issues. It was all a waste of time with no real actions to be taken.
Acknowledging the rising drug prices in the U.S., Senator Cassidy defended the American healthcare system by highlighting access to medications not readily available in other countries. He pointed to Canada, noting their struggles with specialty care and the recent practice of sending citizens to Washington State for faster access to life-saving radiation treatment.
Yesterday, I held a hearing in the Senate HELP Committee on the outrageous prices Americans pay for prescription drugs. It’s time for the CEOs of Big Pharma to put the health of the American people over the wealth of their stockholders. pic.twitter.com/IMNcnSIMkn
— Bernie Sanders (@SenSanders) February 9, 2024
Senators Rand Paul and Mitt Romney echoed Senator Cassidy’s sentiments, emphasizing that while the U.S. pays more for drugs, it also enjoys access to innovative treatments not found elsewhere. They argued that higher drug prices contribute to funding research and development for groundbreaking medical advancements.
To Sum it all up: the Senate committee hearing underscored the ongoing debate over prescription drug prices, the influence of capitalism in the pharmaceutical industry, and the complexities of the U.S. healthcare system. Big Pharma is a great source of funds for media and Democrats as well as Republicans. As such a large supporter, they can do what they please and come before such panels knowing nothing is going to be done to them or their profits.
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Major Points Discussed:
- Senate committee hearing on drug prices sparks debate on capitalism in medicine.
- Bernie Sanders questions CEOs of major pharmaceutical companies on high drug costs in the U.S.
- Executives attribute price disparities to the complex U.S. healthcare system and emphasize the role of pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs).
- Despite persistent questioning, CEOs do not commit to lowering drug prices, citing challenges and differences in healthcare systems.
- Republicans, led by Senator Bill Cassidy, criticize the hearing as a show trial, defending the U.S. healthcare system and highlighting access to innovative treatments.
Comments – Threads – Links
- The last thing America needs is government meddling more in health care. Obamacare is already a disaster. It’s expensive, low quality and impossible to use. We don’t need government negotiating drug prices for us. We need government out of the way to allow for a free market- Paul A. Szypula
- Just because you call something the inflation reduction act, that doesn’t mean that it reduces inflation. How many legs does a dog have if you count the tail as a leg? Four. Just because you called it a leg that doesn’t make it so. In summary, title does not dictate effect- Greg
- Most of their drugs were funded by taxpayers- Marcia Gambino
- Congress is the problem. Congress is the one that has passed many bills extending Pharma patents and stifling competition. CEOs are just taking advantage of the environment you create- WhyNothingChanges
- It’s time for the American people to be the CEOs of these companies- Fuckface Vonwrongpantzypantzy