As Pharma Execs Testify Before Congress, Tester Demands Accountability on Drug Pricing

CEOs from 7 of the largest drug companies testified before the Senate Finance Committee today

(U.S. Senate) – As CEOs from seven of the world’s largest pharmaceutical companies appeared before Congress today, U.S. Senator Jon Tester continued his fight to hold drug makers accountable and make health care more affordable for Montanans.

“Shining a bright light on Big Pharma’s backroom dealings is an important first step towards accountability for an industry that’s built its profits on the backs of American families,” Tester said. “Prescription drug costs are too high for Montanans-our families deserve transparency, and they deserve changes. I hope these executives are committed to working with Congress to address the challenges raised today, but rather than wait for the industry to change, we’ve got to change the industry. That’s why our bipartisan legislation to help cut red tape and get generics to market faster is so important.”

Representatives for seven of the 15 largest pharmaceutical companies in the world-including Merck, Sanofi, AbbVie, AstraZeneca, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Johnson & Johnson, and Pfizer-appeared today before the Senate Finance Committee. These companies generated almost $300 billion in revenue last year by selling some of the most recognizable brand name drugs on the market, including Lyrica, Humira, and Xarelto.

The pharmaceutical executives fielded dozens of questions about drug pricing, including their position on Tester-backed bills like the CREATES Act and the SPIKE Act.

Tester recently helped reintroduce the CREATES Act to lower drug prices by increasing competition in the marketplace. Big pharmaceutical companies block the development of generic versions of their brand name drugs so they can raise prices without competition. Tester’s CREATES Act would cut red tape so cheaper alternatives can be developed and approved faster.

Tester originally signed on to the CREATES Act last Congress following a statewide health care listening tour where he met with nurses, doctors and patients to hear directly about the state’s most pressing health care needs. The legislation, which will increase market competition and lower prescription drug prices, passed the Senate Judiciary Committee last year but did not come up for a full U.S. Senate vote.

Tester also recently helped reintroduce the SPIKE and C-THRU Acts. Tester’s SPIKE Act would force pharmaceutical companies to publicly disclose their reasoning for any significant hikes in prescription drug prices. And his C-THRU Act would require pharmaceutical middlemen to publicly disclose their pricing agreements with drug companies, insurance companies, and pharmacies so that Montanans know exactly where their money is going when they check out at the pharmacy counter.

A longtime advocate for affordable health care, Tester has pushed to hold drug companies accountable, increase transparency within the pharmaceutical industry, and reauthorize funding for community health centers across the state.

More information on Tester’s work to lower prescription drug costs can be found HERE.