WASHINGTON — House progressives on Wednesday called for executives from six drug companies to appear on Capitol Hill next week to justify what the lawmakers termed unjustifiable price increases — the latest public display of displeasure from the Democratic Party’s left flank regarding House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s approach to lowering pharmaceutical costs.
The companies include four brand-name drug manufacturers: Merck, Eli Lilly, Gilead, and Pfizer, a spokeswoman said. The progressives also invited executives from two generic manufacturers: Mylan, the manufacturer of EpiPen, and Mallinckrodt, a company accused of paying bribes to boost sales of a treatment for a rare seizure disorder in infants. Mylan is also among the companies implicated in a sweeping price-fixing lawsuit filed by dozens of state attorneys general.
The group hopes the invitation will spotlight progressives’ views on drug pricing — in turn, forcing Democratic leadership to include their input in their negotiations with the White House and the Senate about a package of bills aimed at lowering drug costs. To date, Pelosi has ignored a popular proposal from Rep. Lloyd Doggett of Texas, which enjoys over 100 co-sponsors but has not been seriously considered by any Capitol Hill committee.