The Senate Committee on Commerce, Science & Transportation on July 25 held a hearing examining how alternative distributors drive up the cost of prescription drugs in short supply, an issue the panel is investigating with the Committee on Health, Education, Labor & Pensions and House Committee on Oversight & Government Reform.
“We have carefully mapped out dozens of cases where prescription drugs that should have been delivered to hospitals and administered to sick patients instead spent weeks circulating in the gray market,” said Committee Chairman Jay Rockefeller (D-WV). “…By the time the ‘gray market’ has done its work, a cancer drug that originally cost $10 or $12 has become a drug that cost $500 or even $1,000.”
Witness David Mayhaus, chief pharmacy director for Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, said his hospital actively manages about 30 shortage drugs a day, resorting to alternative wholesalers only when the absence of a drug could cause patient harm. “In some cases their prices have exceeded 35 times the normal pricing,” he said.
[ via AHA News Now ]