Congressional Democrats are calling for two inquiries after the New York Times reported earlier this week that drug companies were jacking up their prices, negating savings they promised for healthcare reform:
Responding to news reports of unusually high wholesale price increases in brand-name prescription drugs, four House leaders and one senator asked for government reviews of the pricing practices.
Although drug makers challenge the theory, some experts say the run-up in wholesale prices may be partly related to the industry’s concerns about future cost containment under any health care legislation.
“Recent studies have indicated that the industry may be artificially raising prices for certain pharmaceutical products in expectation of new reforms,” the House Democrats wrote in a letter to the Government Accountability Office, a nonpartisan investigative arm of Congress. “Any price gouging is unacceptable, but anticipatory price gouging is especially offensive,” the letter added, asking the G.A.O. to conduct an expedited review of the price increases.
[...] Separately, Senator Bill Nelson of Florida, a Democrat who has led efforts in the Senate to seek more concessions from drug makers, wrote to the inspector general of the Department of Health and Human Services asking for “an immediate and thorough investigation into drug industry pricing and recent increases, and the extent to which these increases may affect the Medicare and Medicaid programs.”