CEOs from some of the largest pharmaceutical companies testified before Congress. Republican and Democratic lawmakers grilled the executives about why drug prices continue to rise.
They claim the money is used to develop new, life saving medications.
Prescription drugs in the United States are so expensive that some Americans can’t afford the medications they need, such as insulin, which has been available for 100 years but prices are skyrocketing.
The Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, Charles Grassleys, says Congress wants to understand why the prices keep rising.
“As part of that fact-finding, ranking member Wyden and I launched an inquiry into the high cost of insulin,” said Sen. Grassley.
Executives from seven of the largest and most profitable pharmaceutical companies testified in other countries the government helps set prices for prescriptions. However, that can lead to certain drugs being unavailable.
But the companies say the profits are put to good use.
“Last year, we invested $10 billion dollars in [research and development].
The executives also said consumers end up paying high out of pocket costs because the savings from rebates and coupons go to the insurance companies and health care groups.
Lawmakers took issue with the Drug Patent System, arguing it allows pharmaceutical companies to have a monopoly on medications and block cheaper, generic drugs.
Congress is working on new legislation targeting prescription drug prices.