Lawmakers at Senate Hearing Examine Price Hike in Low-Cost Generic Drugs

A high increase in prices of some generic medicines was examined on Thursday at a Senate hearing. It was found that three pharmaceutical companies refused to testify.

It has been reported that some low-cost generic drugs that have helped to restrain health care costs for decades are seeing unexpected rise in prices of up to 8,000%. This has prompted a backlash from patients, pharmacists and Washington lawmakers.

Experts said there are numerous forces that are responsible for price hike, which also includes drug ingredient shortages, industry consolidation and production slowdowns due to manufacturing problems.

Lawmakers at the Thursday hearing said the Federal Government needs to pay a bigger role in restraining prices.

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, chair of the Senate Subcommittee on Primary Health and Aging, said, “If generic drug prices continue to rise then we are going to have people all over this country who are sick and need medicine and who simply will not be able to buy the medicine they need”.

It has been found that Sanders introduced a bill that would require generic drug makers to pay rebates to the federal Medicare and Medicaid programs if incase prices of their medications goes above the inflation rates. These payments are already mandatory for branded drugs, but will be totally new for generic medications.

Sanders and House Rep. Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Maryland, last month, sent letters to the makers of nearly 10 generic drugs whose price has been increased above 300% or more in recent months.

The increases cited by the Senate subcommittee were calculated by the Healthcare Supply Chain Association through the average prices of the drugs and other price data.

The Generic Pharmaceutical Association in a statement said that the 10 drugs cited by lawmakers do not completely reflect the broader US market, which includes almost 12,000 generic medications that have reduced drug costs by billions.

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