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Statement on House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Action on Pricing Strategies for MS Disease-Modifying Therapies

August 18, 2017

The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee has taken two actions this week on the pricing strategies for the MS disease-modifying therapies.

First, on August 17, Representative Elijah E. Cummings (D-MD-7), Ranking Member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, and Representative Peter Welch (D-VT-AL), a senior Democrat on the Committee, sent letters to seven pharmaceutical companies that manufacture and distribute disease-modifying MS therapies in the U.S. requesting information on their pricing strategies for these treatments. The information is requested by August 31.

Subsequently, a bipartisan group of Committee members sent letters to the Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission expressing concern about the rising costs of prescription medications. These members highlighted the escalating prices of MS medications as a specific example and requested a briefing on MS pricing strategies by September 1. The bipartisan group includes Committee Chair Trey Gowdy (R-SC-1); Ranking Member Elijah Cummings (D-MD-7); Chair and Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Health Care, Benefits and Administrative Rules Jim Jordan (R-OH-4); Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL-8); Chair of the Subcommittee on Government Operations Mark Meadows (R-NC-11); and Committee member Peter Welch (D-VT-AL).

“The price increases we’ve seen for many of the MS disease-modifying therapies are one of the barriers for people with MS getting the medication they need,” says Bari Talente, Executive Vice President of Advocacy for the National MS Society. “We hope this bipartisan effort provides some vital information on pricing strategies, including price increases and the value of medications, that will help all stakeholders work together towards solutions for the challenges facing people with MS in accessing their medications."

In September 2016, the National MS Society launched its Make Medications Accessible Initiative aimed at working with all stakeholders—pharmaceutical companies, insurers, pharmacy benefit managers, specialty pharmacies, healthcare providers, policy makers and people with MS—to find solutions to make medications affordable, and the process for getting them simple and transparent.

The Committee on Oversight and Government Reform has issued a press release, a letter to Acting Chairman of the U.S. Federal Trade Commission and a letter to Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

About Multiple Sclerosis

Multiple sclerosis is an unpredictable, often disabling disease of the central nervous system that disrupts the flow of information within the brain, and between the brain and body. Symptoms range from numbness and tingling to blindness and paralysis. 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. Most people with MS are diagnosed between the ages of 20 and 50, with at least two to three times more women than men being diagnosed with the disease. MS affects more than 2.3 million people worldwide.

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