The high price of prescription drugs was a frequent source of controversy on and off of Capitol Hill in 2016; members of Congress held hearings and berated drug company CEOs whose products had seen dramatic, rapid price hikes. In this story, we discuss the issue's history and examine what has happened since.
"You can look away if you like but I wish you could see the faces of these people ... who can't get access to these drugs," Rep. Elijah Cummings (R-Md.) said to Martin Shkreli, former CEO of Turing Pharmaceuticals, during a House Oversight & Government Reform Committee hearing last February on high drug prices. Shkreli's former company bought a 60-year-old drug, pyrimethamine (Daraprim), and raised the price from $13.50 per pill to $750 per pill.
And fixing the market is going to have to involve the FDA, said Nancy Taylor, JD, co-chair of the health and FDA business at Greenberg Traurig, a Washington law firm. "I think we've got the stimulation of competition, but the FDA's got a backlog of biologics and that is not permitting competitive products to get out and create better price sensitivity ... The FDA probably needs more money so that the competition can begin."