CEOs from pharmaceutical companies testify before Congress

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CEOs from some of the largest pharmaceutical companies testified before Congress.

Republican and Democratic lawmakers grilled the executives about why drug prices continue to rise.

Prescription drugs in the United States are so expensive some Americans can’t afford the medications they need. Insulin has been available for 100 years, but prices for that and other drugs are skyrocketing.

The chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, Charles Grassley says Congress wants to understand why the prices keep rising.

“As part of that fact-finding, ranking member Wyden and I launched an inquiry into the high cost of insulin,” said Senator Grassley

Executives from seven of the largest and most profitable pharmaceutical companies testified in other countries, the government helps set prices for prescriptions, but that can lead to certain drugs being unavailable.

The companies say the profits are put to good use.

“Last year we invested $10 billion dollars in R&D 23 percent of product sales,” said CEO Kenneth Frazier.

The executives also said consumers end up paying high out-of-pocket costs because the savings from rebates and coupons go to insurance companies and health care groups.

Democrat Oregon Senator Ron Wyden disagrees.

“I think you and others in the industry are stonewalling on the issue,” Senator Wyden. “Which is actually lowering list prices.”

Lawmakers took issue with the drug patent system, arguing it allows pharmaceutical companies to have a monopoly on medications and block cheaper generic drugs.

Congress is working on new legislation targeting prescription drug prices.

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 Glen is honored to be delivering the news of the day every weeknight at 5, 6, and 10 in his home state. He is an award-winning veteran journalist, who joined the ABC4 News team as a weekend anchor in June 2013. Over the years, he held various positions at the station as he worked his way up to the main anchor chair. He also serves as our Senior Political Correspondent and hosts Inside Utah Politics, which airs every Sunday. The Utah Headliners Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists has recognized Glen as the best government and military television reporter in the state. Before returning home to Utah, he spent 11 1/2 years developing his journalism skills in other states. He held various on-air and management positions at KPVI in Pocatello, Idaho, WGBA in Green Bay, Wisconsin, and KKCO in Grand Junction, Colorado during that time. Read More...