Friday, November 20, 2009

Rising Prices of Drugs Lead to Call for Inquiry

Democrats in Congress asked for two separate investigations of drug industry pricing Wednesday as they continue working on legislation to overhaul the nation’s health care system.

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.


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