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U.S. House Democrats launch probe into MS drug pricing

August 17. 2017 8:57PM

NEW YORK — U.S. House Democrats said on Thursday they were launching an investigation into why prices for Multiple Sclerosis (MS) treatments have nearly quintupled since 2004, and they sent letters requesting information from seven drugmakers.

U.S. Representatives Elijah Cummings and Peter Welch sent the letters to Bayer AG, Biogen Inc, Merck KGaA’s EMD Serono unit, Novartis AG, Roche Holding AG, Sanofi SA, and Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Inc .

The lawmakers on the U.S. House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform said in the letters that they were looking to determine whether drug companies were raising prices for MS drugs in lockstep with their competitors.

The average annual cost of MS therapy rose to $78,000 in 2016 from $16,000 in 2004, according to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.

Drugmakers have faced a global pushback from regulators and lawmakers about high prices.

President Donald Trump has said the companies are “getting away with murder” and has pledged to lower the cost of prescription drugs. He met with Representative Cummings to discuss the issue in March.

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