UPDATED 7:14 AM PT — Friday, Dec. 7, 2018
Prescription drug prices are on the rise, and congressional lawmakers are preparing to take on the pharmaceutical industry.
This past July, President Trump called out prescription drug companies for “planned increases” by saying they were making a “fortune” at the expense of American consumers.
“In some cases, when medicine cost a few dollars in a foreign country, cost hundreds of dollars in America for the same pill, for the same ingredients, in the same package, made in the same plant and that is unacceptable,” stated the president.
Soon after his comments, pharmaceutical companies Novartis and Pfizer announced they would not raise the prices on medications for the rest of the year. However, as 2018 winds down, drug prices are once again hiking up.
Last month, Pfizer announced it plans to raise drug prices on 10-percent of its portfolio beginning next year.
More than a dozen lawmakers sent letters to five pharmaceutical companies asking why after they benefited from the recent tax cuts, they continued to charge high prices.
The companies responded by saying they used their tax savings in a variety of ways, from boosting employee compensation to investing in U.S. facilities and even making donations.
As a new Congress comes to D.C., observers are saying reining in drug prices will be a major focus in 2019.
Just this week, Republican Senator Chuck Grassley and Democrat Senator Ron Wyden introduced legislation, which would give the government more power to make sure drug companies play by the rules of the medicaid program.
As drug companies raise prices on their products, lawmakers on both sides of the aisle are raising awareness to their actions.