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Congressman John Sarbanes

Representing the 3rd District of Maryland

Sarbanes Fights Pharmaceutical Industry Abuses [Video]


Jun 7, 2017
Contact: Daniel Jacobs
(202) 225-4016

WASHINGTON, D.C. – During a House Energy and Commerce Committee markup today, Congressman John Sarbanes (D-Md.) supported an amendment intended to push back against pharmaceutical industry abuses.

See below for a video and a transcript of the Congressman’s full remarks.

“Thank you Mr. Chairman.

I expect to support the amendment. I’m doing it, really, as a kind of primal scream against the practices of the pharmaceutical industry and on behalf of many Americans, that Peter’s already described – and other members, who feel like every day they’re getting rolled over by those industries.

I don’t think the amendment is perfect. In fact, I think that there are legitimate concerns that have been expressed by Representative Lujan and some other members from the Republican side of the aisle – concerns about safety, how you can really track and trace these drugs, whether once you authorize a program like this it opens the opportunity for really unscrupulous actors to get into the mix in a way that could potentially harm people.

I hope that ultimately, if we’re able to put a program like this together that we’ll put the resources behind the FDA and whatever other resources are needed to make sure that the safety concerns can be addressed.

But, in some way, my vote today in support of this is almost disconnected from the substance of the amendment itself. It is really about, as Congressman Doyle said, sending a message – a wakeup call – to the pharmaceutical industry, and I expect that there are probably a few representatives of that industry in the audience today, that people have gotten to the end of their tether on this. They’re tired of price fixing. They’re tired of price gouging. They’re tired of price holding. These practices have got to end. And on this day, this bill is our opportunity to send that message. That’s what it is. It’s an opportunity to send a message to the industry that business as usual has got to change.

And I agree with every single person who said that it’s a responsibility – it’s an obligation of this committee, this is the jurisdiction we have – to hold meaningful hearings and to try to get to the bottom of this. There’s too many people out there that are hurting and are depending on us to get to the bottom of it.

So, I’ll return to what I said at the outset. This vote is a primal scream on my part, and on behalf of many out there, who just want these practices of exploiting innocent Americans who are sick and need these medications to say to the industry: “enough is enough.” We need to do something about it.

And I’ll yield time to Mr. Welch.”