Sen. Ron Wyden says pharma execs will testify ‘one way or another’

Executives from seven pharmaceutical manufacturers will testify about drug pricing practices before the Senate Finance Committee “one way or another,” Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., said Tuesday.

Wyden tweet

Grassley criticized pharmaceutical companies that declined his invitation to testify at last week’s hearing about drug prices, adding that several of the companies asked to testify Feb. 26 declined his original request.

“The companies that declined said they would discuss their ideas in private, but not in public,” Grassley said at the committee’s Jan. 29 hearing. “That is not what I mean when I talk about transparency. So, we will extend the opportunity again in the future, but we will be more insistent the next time.”

Wyden said at the time that the committee would use its “power to compel the drug company CEOs to show up” if they don’t testify.

Two companies have agreed to send their CEOs to the hearing, a spokeswoman for Grassley said Tuesday. Merck CEO Ken Frazier will attend, a spokeswoman for the company told CNBC. Sanofi is determining whether current scheduling allows CEO Olivier Brandicourt to attend the hearing, a spokeswoman said. AstraZeneca told CNBC that “we are currently reviewing the request and will respond to the Committee in due course.”

Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have demanded something be done to lower drug prices. President Donald Trump has made lowering out-of-pocket costs for patients one of his administration’s top priorities. He’s expected to address the issue Tuesday night in his State of the Union address.

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