CSRxP Statement on Testimony of Seven Pharmaceutical Executives Before Senate Finance Committee

Feb 26, 2019

Washington, D.C. – The Campaign for Sustainable Rx Pricing (CSRxP) released a statement Tuesday after seven pharmaceutical executives testified before the U.S. Senate Committee on Finance in a hearing on rising drug prices:

“We thank Chairman Grassley, Ranking Member Wyden and all the members of the committee for their commitment to tackle drug prices in the 116th Congress and for asking tough questions to hold Big Pharma accountable,” said CSRxP executive director Lauren Aronson.  “Today was Big Pharma’s Big Tobacco moment where it became crystal clear the status quo is unacceptable to policymakers and the American people.  It is now incumbent on lawmakers to translate the momentum for change into concrete, market-based solutions to crack down on the anti-competitive and price gouging tactics of Big Pharma, in order to bring down the price of prescription drugs.”

“CSRxP will continue working with Congress to enact bipartisan, market-based solutions that boost competition, increase transparency and make prescription drugs more affordable for patients,” Aronson continued.

CSRxP also challenged several of the diversionary tactics employed by the pharmaceutical executives during their testimony.

“Unfortunately, we heard the same hollow rhetoric from drug makers today that we’ve heard in the past,” said CSRxP spokesman Jon Conradi.  “Instead of taking responsibility for their actions, Big Pharma executives hid behind toothless, flowery rhetoric and pointed the finger at others in the drug supply chain.”

“The simple fact of the matter is drug makers, and they alone, set the list price from which everything else stems,” Conradi continued.  “A high starting price results in a high end price.”

“The executives spent a lot of time pointing the finger at rebates today,” Conradi noted.  “But it is critical to keep in mind that the current rebate rule proposed by the administration would hike premiums on seniors by 25 percent, cost taxpayers $200 billion and give Big Pharma a massive windfall — all with no guarantee list prices would be reduced by the full amount of the rebate to achieve savings for patients.”

CSRxP also noted the qualified support from several executives for proposed solutions like the CREATES Act should be met with skepticism, given these companies’ history of mismatched rhetoric and results.

As Ranking Member Wyden aptly noted, it would be easy for these companies to change their tune “after the happy talk is over.”

“The devil is in the details,” said Conradi.  “Anything short of a full endorsement of the CREATES Act as it was passed out of the Judiciary Committee is just more empty rhetoric from drug makers desperate to blunt the growing momentum in Washington and nationwide to hold them accountable for their anti-competitive and price gouging tactics.”