Over the past two years, the National Institutes of Health has been pressed by various lawmakers and advocacy groups to help alleviate the high cost of medicines. Citing federal law, they have urged the agency to take action when a prescription drug — one that was discovered with taxpayer dollars and later licensed to a drug maker — was not considered affordable. So far, though, the NIH has demurred.
On Thursday, NIH Director Francis Collins explained why. In testimony before a House Energy and Commerce subcommittee, he maintained federal law does not provide any “levers to pull.”