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Are Drug Companies Raising Prices Ahead of Health Care Reform?

Congressional Democrats are calling for investigations into a recent increase in prescription drug prices. Lawmakers are concerned that drug makers may be trying to make extra money before reforms aimed at lowering prices possibly go into effect. This, after the nation's top lobbying group for elderly Americans said prices for some of the most widely used medicines climbed 9%.

"I want to know if there's a back-door move underway by the drug makers to recover some of the concessions they've promised for health care reform," said Sen. Bill Nelson (D), Florida.

Nelson is asking the Department of Health and Human Services' inspector general to investigate the issue.


View a new interactive database of diabetic drug prices across the United States

House leaders sent a letter to the non-partisan Government Accountability Office, asking it to compare drug prices against the Consumer Price Index and to analyze which specific drugs accounted for the biggest price changes.

Drug makers "may be artificially raising prices for certain pharmaceutical products in expectation of new reforms," wrote Charles Rangel and Henry Waxman, chairmen of the House Ways and Means Committee and the House Energy and Commerce Committee, respectively.

"Any price gouging is unacceptable, but anticipatory price gouging is especially offensive," their letter said.

Drug makers have largely backed Democrats' plan to overhaul the health care system, making a deal with some senators and the White House to provide $80 billion in savings and rebates over 10 years.


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