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House Oversight and Reform Committee Holds Hearing on Unsustainable Drug Prices

October 2, 2020

This week, the House Oversight and Reform Committee held a two-day hearing on Unsustainable Drug Prices. The hearing was a result of an 18-month long investigation into high prescription drug prices that began under the late Representative Elijah Cummings. The Committee released reports resulting from that investigation and heard directly from the chief executive officers (CEOs) of 6 pharmaceutical companies who had products under investigation.

Two medications used to treat people with MS- Copaxone and H.P. Acthar Gel, were examined during the Committee investigation. During the Committee’s investigation, the Society met with Committee staff to ensure they understood the MS medications market and the impact of the high price of MS medications on people with MS. 

On September 30th, the Committee heard about how the high cost of MS medications affected people with MS. Therese Humphrey Ball, an MS Activist from Indiana shared her story directly to the Committee via a pre-recorded video and MS activist Lisa McRipley’s story was shared by her Representative, Rashida Tlaib of Michigan. Several Committee members questioned the CEOs from the pharmaceutical companies in attendance around the prices of the MS medications in question. Separately, Mike Olex of Virginia was contacted by CBS News for his perspective on the hearings. MS Activists stories highlighted during the hearing were shared on the @MSActivst Twitter account. 

The hearing resulted in bipartisan agreement that Congress must enact policies to help bring down the high cost of prescription drugs. Rep. Higgins of Louisiana used his time to share the story of his wife who lives with MS. He shared, “I must say – I concur with many of my colleagues across the aisle here. I do not understand, my constituents do not get it, why the same formulas of drugs/the same manufacturers, across the border in Canada can be 2-3 times less than it is here in the United States. My wife has MS and the pharmaceuticals is a constant challenge. She receives a therapy that is equivalent to chemotherapy for MS every 6 months and every 6 months the same battle with insurance companies due to restrictions form pharmaceutical companies.”

The Society is committed to working with Congress when they return after the election and urges them to pass legislation to help reduce the cost of prescription drugs and help ensure that people with MS can get the medications they need to live their best lives. Click here to learn more about the Society’s work to make MS mediations more accessible.

About Multiple Sclerosis

Multiple sclerosis is an unpredictable, often disabling disease of the central nervous system. Symptoms range from numbness and tingling to blindness and paralysis, and there is currently no cure for MS. The progress, severity and specific symptoms of MS in any one person cannot yet be predicted, but advances in research and treatment are leading to better understanding and moving us closer to a world free of MS. An estimated 1 million people live with MS in the United States. Most people with MS are diagnosed between the ages of 20 and 50, and it affects women three times more than men.

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