WASHINGTON, Aug. 14 — As a part of their investigation into recent drug price increases, Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt), Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Primary Health and Aging, Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions and Rep. Elijah E. Cummings (D-Md.), Ranking Member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, sent a letter to Valeant Pharmaceuticals International, Inc., requesting information about the escalating prices the company has been charging for two drugs it purchased from another drug company earlier this year.
"It is unconscionable when drug companies take advantage of consumers by artificially inflating the prices of essential medications just to increase their profits,” said Cummings. “We want to know why Valeant significantly raised the prices of these two vitally important drugs when the only thing that has changed about the drugs is the company that owns them."
“It is unacceptable that Americans pay, by far, the highest prices in the world for prescription drugs,” said Sanders. “Isuprel and Nitropress are just two recent examples of drug companies taking money out of the pockets of Americans. We must get to the bottom of the enormous increase in drug prices around the country.”
In their letter today, Cummings and Sanders expressed concern about reports that Valeant increased its prices for two heart medications—Isuprel and Nitropress—by about 525% and 212% immediately after buying the drugs from Marathon Pharmaceuticals in February. Valeant is the only company that sells these two life-saving medications.
The Members requested that Valeant provide information from February to the present, including total gross revenues from sales of the drugs; prices paid for the drugs; any material changes in production of the drugs; and the prices of these drugs in foreign markets.
Cummings and Sanders sent a letter to Marathon Pharmaceuticals last October requesting information about Marathon’s own pricing practices. Marathon had increased the prices of the two drugs by nearly 400% after acquiring them from another drug company, Hospira, in 2013.
Today, Cummings and Sanders also sent a letter to Hospira requesting information about its role in continuing to manufacture and supply these two drugs.
Click here to see the letter to Valeant.
Click here to see the letter to Hospira.