KHN Morning Briefing

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At House Hearing, Pharma Execs Expected To Argue Price Hikes Affect Hospitals, Not Patients

But Martin Shkreli is expected to remain silent on the topic by pleading the Fifth at the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. Valeant's interim CEO, though, will urge the lawmakers to rewrite rules regulating how drug companies help Medicare patients with out-of-pocket costs.

The New York Times: Drug Firms Expected To Defend Huge Price Increases In House Testimony
Valeant Pharmaceuticals International rationalized substantial increases in the prices of two heart drugs by arguing that the company would merely be taking money from hospitals, not hurting patients, the company’s interim chief executive is expected to tell a congressional panel on Thursday. “Because these drugs are hospital-administered and not purchased by patients directly, increasing the cost of the drugs to hospitals would affect the hospital’s profits on these procedures, but it should not reduce patient access,” the executive, Howard. B. Schiller, said in prepared testimony that was released before a hearing Thursday morning by the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. (Pollack, 2/4)

Reuters: U.S. Lawmakers Unlikely To Get Answers From Ex-Drug Executive Shkreli
Martin Shkreli, the former drug executive who raised the price of a lifesaving medicine by 5,000 percent, is set to appear as a witness at a congressional hearing on Thursday but is unlikely to answer lawmakers' questions about price spikes. Shkreli, 32, sparked outrage last year among patients, medical societies and Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton after his company Turing Pharmaceuticals raised the price of 62-year-old Daraprim to $750 a pill from $13.50. The medicine, used to treat a parasitic infection, once sold for $1 a pill. The U.S. House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform is scheduled to hold a hearing on drug prices at 9 a.m., with Shkreli and others from the pharmaceutical industry as witnesses. (Ingram and Lynch, 2/4)

The Wall Street Journal: Valeant’s Interim CEO To Seek Change To Rules For Prescription Assistance
Howard Schiller, interim chief executive of Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc., is expected to urge House lawmakers Thursday to rewrite rules that make it illegal for drug companies to help Medicare patients pay the out-of-pocket costs of their prescriptions. Such assistance for patients in Medicare and other government-funded health-care programs is considered an illegal kickback under federal law, so drug companies limit offering the help only to patients who are commercially insured. (Rockoff, 2/3)

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