KHN Morning Briefing

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Shkreli Subpoenaed For Congressional Price-Gouging Hearing

A House committee has called former Turing Pharmaceuticals CEO Martin Shkreli and Valeant's interim CEO, Howard Schiller, to testify over sharp increases in drug costs at a hearing on Tuesday. And Treasury Secretary Jack Lew received a subpoena from Rep. Kevin Brady, R-Texas, and Rep. Fred Upton, R-Mich., over documents involving payments to insurance companies.

The Associated Press: Price-Hiking Pharma Exec Martin Shkreli Gets House Subpoena
House lawmakers have issued a subpoena to compel former Turing Pharmaceuticals CEO Martin Shkreli, reviled for price-gouging, to appear at a congressional hearing next Tuesday. Shkreli became notorious after his company Turing hiked the price of Daraprim, the only approved drug for a rare and sometimes deadly parasitic infection, by 5,000 percent. Since then, Shkreli has been deluged with criticism from patients, politicians and the media, with some labeling him the “most hated man in America.” (Perrone, 1/20)

Reuters: U.S. Congressional Committee Subpoenas Ex-Drug CEO Shkreli
A U.S. congressional committee has demanded that former drug executive Martin Shkreli appear at a hearing on drug prices to testify about his former company's decision to raise the price of a lifesaving medicine by more than 5,000 percent, congressional aides said on Wednesday. Shkreli, who is separately facing federal criminal charges that he defrauded investors, has been served with a subpoena to appear on Jan. 26 before the U.S. House of Representatives' Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, the aides said. (Lynch and Ingram, 1/20)

The Wall Street Journal: Valeant Pharmaceutical Interim CEO To Testify Before Congress Next Week
Howard Schiller, interim CEO of Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc., is planning to testify at a congressional hearing next week that will explore drug-price increases, according to a company spokeswoman. Valeant has been “providing information” to the House Oversight committee, the company spokeswoman said Wednesday. “Mr. Schiller looks forward to testifying and sharing with the committee how Valeant works to make its drugs available to the millions of patients who depend on them,” she added. (Rockoff, 1/20)

The Associated Press: House GOP Subpoenas Treasury's Lew On 'Obamacare' Papers
Two top House Republicans have subpoenaed Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew, seeking documents involving payments to insurance companies to lower out-of-pocket costs for some people enrolled under the Affordable Care Act. Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady and Energy and Commerce Chairman Fred Upton maintain those "cost-sharing reduction" payments must be provided by Congress each year. The administration says they are permanently appropriated under the "Obamacare" law. (1/20)

In other news from Capitol Hill, the Senate HELP Committee will not take up a medical innovation bill —

CQ Healthbeat: Senate HELP Scraps House Approach On Medical Innovation
Instead of following the House's lead and advancing a comprehensive bill designed to spur medical innovation, the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee will consider a set of narrower bills with the same goal in mind, the panel's chairman said on Tuesday. Following last summer’s House passage of the so-called 21st Century Cures Initiative (HR 6), Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., maintained that his goal was to have a Senate companion measure marked up by the end of 2015. (Siddons, 1/20)

Daily Consult: Senate Panel Punts On Big Medical Bill
The Senate will not put forth a comprehensive medical innovation bill that would be a companion measure to the House’s 21st Century Cures bill. Instead, lawmakers are opting to work on several smaller bills that have bipartisan support. In recent weeks, aides said committee members hit partisan snags when discussing a bigger bill. The Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee will hold three separate markups, deliberating a few “easier” bills in February to “get our sea legs on working on bipartisan FDA/NIH bills,” according to a senior GOP committee aide. The overall goal of the committee’s work will be to accelerate the development and approval of new medical cures. (Owens, 1/19)

Modern Healthcare: 21st Century Cures Act Won't Get Senate Treatment
Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) said the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions will vote on at least seven bipartisan bills beginning Feb. 9 ranging from expediting therapies for rare diseases to improving electronic health records. The Senate committee will consider additional bills in March and April, according to a news release. (1/19)

The Hill: Senate To Break Up House-Passed 'Cures' Bill
The Senate’s strategy for passing bipartisan biomedical research legislation is a far cry from the House, where the Energy and Commerce Committee spent more than a year working on a final package. That legislation overwhelmingly passed in July, led by Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.) and Rep. Diana DeGette (D-Colo.). Since the House bill's passage in July, the multibillion-dollar measure has failed to gain any traction in the Senate. Alexander’s plan likely means that Republicans and Democrats failed to strike compromises on funding, which has been a major sticking point. (Ferris, 1/19)

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