WASHINGTON — Channeling the ire of constituents and drawing from personal experience, senators chastised drug company executives Tuesday over the high cost of prescription medications, while the CEOs warned that government price controls could stifle breakthroughs on diseases like Alzheimer’s.
The Senate Finance Committee hearing marked the first time lawmakers have called the industry’s top executives to account for rising prices, which are a drain on Medicare and Medicaid and a burden to millions of Americans. The extraordinary public accounting was a sign that Congress and the White House are moving toward legislation this year to curb costs.
Ranking Democrat Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon said the pharmaceutical industry treats patients like “unlocked ATMs full of cash to be extracted.”
President Donald Trump and Democrats have promised to bring prices down. Drug prices could provide a rare bipartisan issue on which Congress and the White House could collaborate on legislation this year.
The CEOs say prices reflect investment in research and development.