Senator Bernie Sanders and Rep. Elijah Cummings to three drug companies: “Not only did your company’s apparent obstruction undermine our investigation, but it may have caused further harm to patients and health care providers by delaying the discovery of evidence about the companies’ price-fixing.”
Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, a 2020 presidential candidate, and Maryland Representative Elijah Cummings, have launched an investigation into three pharmaceutical companies that have allegedly obstructed an inquiry into their companies raising the price of lifesaving drugs.
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Ranking Member of the Senate Budget Committee, and Rep. Elijah E. Cummings (D-Md.), the Chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Reform, sent letters to Heritage Pharmaceuticals, Mylan N.V., and Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd., opening an investigation into the companies’ apparent coordinated obstruction of a 2014 inquiry into the way their companies raised prices on lifesaving generic drugs.
“Not only did your company’s apparent obstruction undermine our investigation,” Sanders and Cummings wrote to each of the pharmaceutical CEOs, “but it may have caused further harm to patients and health care providers by delaying the discovery of evidence about the companies’ price-fixing.”
In 2014, Sanders and Cummings sent letters to the companies requesting information and documents regarding price increases of generic medicines. The prices of some of these drugs had risen by as much as 8,281 percent between October 2013 and April 2014. Heritage, Mylan, and Teva executives allegedly played a central role in the scheme.
According to the complaint filed by Connecticut and 43 other states in May, the pharmaceutical companies coordinated to inflate the prices of several drugs that were the subject of Sanders’ and Cummings’ 2014 investigation. Connecticut officials obtained an email sent on October 3, 2014, from a representative of Mylan Inc. to then-Heritage Pharmaceuticals Chief Executive Officer Jeffrey Glazer discussing how Teva, Mylan, and Heritage planned to coordinate their responses to the congressional requests. The Mylan representative wrote that “the consensus at this point is that the responses will be ‘polite f-u’ letters.” The companies planned “to schedule a conference call to coordinate the response and make sure everyone is on the same page,” according to the email.
“Obstructing or evading a Congressional investigation, including withholding or concealing information, is a violation of federal law,” wrote Sanders and Cummings to the three drug companies in response.
Sanders and Cummings renewed their original request for documents and requested information regarding the companies’ apparent efforts to stonewall the 2014 investigation, in order to obtain a more detailed understanding of what specific actions took place to thwart the ability of Congress to enact legislative reform, and jeopardize patients’ access to generic drugs.
“We are writing once again to obtain the information requested in 2014,” wrote Sanders and Cummings, requesting responses by August 28, 2019. “This information is critical to our investigation, and necessary to develop and pursue legislative policies that address anti-competitive behavior in the generic pharmaceutical industry.”