House Lawmaker Looks Into Drug Shortages, Price Markups
Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, D-Md., the ranking member on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, has begun an investigation into 'gray market' drug distributors and how they may be driving up costs and adding to the nation's current shortage of cancer and critical-care products.
The Wall Street Journal: Congressman Investigates High Drug Markups
The top Democrat on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee has launched an investigation into drug distributors that are obtaining cancer and other critical-care products in short supply and offering to resell them to hospitals at several times the wholesale price. Rep. Elijah E. Cummings of Maryland sent document requests to five closely held companies Wednesday seeking information about how they obtained drugs and how much they paid for them before offering to resell them to hospitals and other health care facilities (Dooren, 10/5).
The Baltimore Sun: Cummings Looks Into Prescription Drug Shortages
After his staff investigated, collecting documents and information from several large-scale pharmaceutical buyers, (Rep. Elijah) Cummings now alleges that several companies are selling some drugs on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's shortage list at huge markups. While not accusing the companies of wrongdoing, he sent his own letters Wednesday to five companies to request more information about the source of their drugs and their profits (Cohn, 10/5).
Modern Healthcare: Lawmaker Queries Secondary Drug Distributors
Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) sent document requests to five secondary drug distributors that he says buy and sell drugs in short supply. The companies include Allied Medical Supply, Miami; Superior Medical Supply, Superior, Colo.; Premium Health Services, Columbia, Md.; PRN Pharmaceuticals, Rockville, Md.; and Reliance Wholesale, Miami. Cummings said in a news release that he has "been working with a network of hospital, pharmacy and government representatives to investigate the extent to which 'gray market' middleman companies are making substantial profits by engaging in a form of drug speculation" (Lee, 10/5).
Bloomberg: Drug Resellers In The U.S. Probed For Marking Up Scarce Medicine 80-Fold
Companies that buy up critical drugs in short supply and resell them to hospitals and pharmacies at a markup of as much as 80 times their price are under investigation by a U.S. lawmaker challenging the practice. While so-called gray-market resellers can offer life-saving drugs that are in low supply, they charge the typical contract price sevenfold on average, with some surgical and other medically critical treatments increasing 20-fold, according to a survey by the Premier Healthcare Alliance. Representative Elijah Cummings, a Maryland Democrat, launched the investigation as the U.S. faces record drug shortages (Armstrong and Randall, 10/5).
In other Capitol Hill News -
Modern Healthcare: Bill Would Detail Individuals' Medicare Benefits, Contributions
A bipartisan effort to educate members of the public that their Medicare benefits will likely far outstrip their lifetime contributions was the goal of legislation introduced this week. The bill, sponsored by Sens. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) and Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), would require all adults over 24 years old to receive an annual statement detailing their lifetime Medicare contributions and benefits (Daly, 10/5).