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Dems Want GAO to Examine Skyrocketing Prescription Prices

On Monday, The New York Times ran a damning story detailing how the nation’s drug makers are hiking their prices ahead of the reform laws winding their way through Congress. The very next day, some powerful House Democrats called for a closer look, asking the Government Accountability Office to examine the drug industry to verify the Times’ report.

In a letter yesterday to GAO, Reps. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.), Charlie Rangel (D-N.Y.), Pete Stark (D-Calif.) and John Lewis (D-Ga.) voiced concerns that the companies are “artificially raising prices for certain pharmaceutical products in expectation of new reforms that could otherwise reduce prescription drug prices or price growth by encouraging patients and the government to be more efficient purchasers.”

Any price gouging is unacceptable, but anticipatory price gouging is especially offensive. We request that the GAO prepare on an expedited basis a report that analyzes recent trends in prescription drug pricing. In addition, we request that you prepare a proposal to ensure ongoing monitoring of pharmaceutical manufacturer pricing practices, and periodically report to the Congress on your findings.

Not that the pharmaceutical industry is taking the Times’ report sitting down. In a statement released Monday, Ken Johnson, senior vice president of the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, said the price increases represent “the natural result of market forces.”

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