Congressman John Sarbanes

Representing the 3rd District of Maryland

Sarbanes Blasts Drug Manufacturers and Pharmacy Benefit Managers for the Rising Cost of Insulin [Video]

At Oversight and Investigations Hearing, Congressman Sarbanes Says, “Things Have Gotten Out of Control”
April 10, 2019
Contact: Daniel Jacobs
(202) 225-4016

WASHINGTON, D.C. – During a House Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations hearing today, Congressman John Sarbanes (D-Md.) criticized drug manufacturers and pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) for rapidly increasing the price of insulin, a lifesaving drug that millions of Americans with diabetes rely on every single day.

At the hearing, Congressman Sarbanes pushed back on misleading claims by drug manufacturers and PBMs that increasing the transparency of drug prices would harm consumers.

“It will hurt the consumer to have transparency?” said Sarbanes. “I don’t buy it.”

Sarbanes concluded: “I think – just to get the lobbyists in the room to shudder a little bit – I think the PBMs should be utilities or converted to nonprofits…. I understand what the mission was originally of the PBMs. It’s a complicated industry. You need an intermediary to assemble all the information on both sides to weigh in, to assemble the bargaining position, so that you can get the best price. And in the early days, that was a good argument. But now, things have gotten out of control. You’re too big, and the lack of transparency allows you to manipulate the system at the expense of the patient. So, I don’t buy the argument that the patient and consumer is going to get hurt if we have absolute transparency.”

See below for the full exchange.