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Senate Proceeding on Jul 25th, 2008 :: 0:47:21 to 1:03:24
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John Cornyn

0:42:17 to 0:47:21( Edit History Discussion )
Speech By: John Cornyn

John Cornyn

0:46:59 to 0:47:21( Edit History Discussion )

John Cornyn: to production. we can acknowledge the existence of the laws of supply and demand and the american people will get the kind of relief that they want and so desperately need. i yield the floor and -- the

Amy Klobuchar

0:47:21 to 0:47:34( Edit History Discussion )

Amy Klobuchar: presiding officer: the majority controls the next 30 minutes.| ms. klobuchar: mr. president, i come to the floor today without rage over what the pharmaceutical companies have been doing for pricing

Amy Klobuchar

0:47:21 to 1:03:24( Edit History Discussion )
Speech By: Amy Klobuchar

Amy Klobuchar

0:47:34 to 0:47:49( Edit History Discussion )

Amy Klobuchar: for important medication affecting the lives of people in this country. i know you, mr. presiding officer, from the state of rhode island have been a leader in this health care area and share many of the

Amy Klobuchar

0:47:49 to 0:48:07( Edit History Discussion )

Amy Klobuchar: concerns i have and are, in fact, working on this issue. yesterday, mr. president, i chaired a hearing at the joint economic committee to discuss the foe phenomenon of the dramatic price increases with

Amy Klobuchar

0:48:07 to 0:48:25( Edit History Discussion )

Amy Klobuchar: the medications. these are drugs, because of aggressive pricing practices have seen dramatic increases in cost often because of a limited market or other factors and the drugs' price goes up to

Amy Klobuchar

0:48:25 to 0:48:42( Edit History Discussion )

Amy Klobuchar: an astronomical weather. i received word from children's hospital in minneapolis, a leading children's hospital in the country that a price for one drug has increased substantially, a medication used

Amy Klobuchar

0:48:42 to 0:48:58( Edit History Discussion )

Amy Klobuchar: to treat patients, little babies, that have p.d.a. a disorder that prevents holes from healing in the hearts of premature infants and has been around since the 1970's and it is commonly used method

Amy Klobuchar

0:48:58 to 0:49:09( Edit History Discussion )

Amy Klobuchar: of treating this condition. it's a great thing because it allows doctors to prescribe medication instead of resorting to surgery. we had an event in minnesota a few months ago with the children's

Amy Klobuchar

0:49:09 to 0:49:23( Edit History Discussion )

Amy Klobuchar: hospital and a number of doctors that are specialists and a family named the bentsens whose little child survived because of the help of this drug. to see this baby and to think what this drug company

Amy Klobuchar

0:49:23 to 0:49:42( Edit History Discussion )

Amy Klobuchar: had done when they jacked up the price of this drug, you cannot even imagine why they would have done such a thing. i'll go into the facts. so the drug has been around since the 1970's. merck had

Amy Klobuchar

0:49:42 to 0:50:00( Edit History Discussion )

Amy Klobuchar: the drug. two years ago a pharmacy company acquired the rights from merck and quickly increased the price by more than 18 times from $100 a dose to $1,800 a dose. was there research? no. was there

Amy Klobuchar

0:50:00 to 0:50:18( Edit History Discussion )

Amy Klobuchar: more changes to the drug? no. it was the very same drug and they increased the price because they could from $100 to $1,800 a dose. even though it is an american company and this is what is outrageous

Amy Klobuchar

0:50:18 to 0:50:31( Edit History Discussion )

Amy Klobuchar: it is an american company but the price that the company charges for the live-saving drugs for babies is now 44 times higher in the united states than what they sell it for in canada. 44 times higher

Amy Klobuchar

0:50:31 to 0:50:52( Edit History Discussion )

Amy Klobuchar: in the united states than in canada. nothing can justify this kind of price disparity except this company wants to bring in more money into the coffers. as it happens there is only one other drug approved

Amy Klobuchar

0:50:52 to 0:51:07( Edit History Discussion )

Amy Klobuchar: by the f.d.a. for this problem, a formulation of intravenous as written. ovation, that bought the company from merck, when merck sold it at $100, and now it is $1008 and ovation is the only source

Amy Klobuchar

0:51:07 to 0:51:20( Edit History Discussion )

Amy Klobuchar: of the other drug in the united states and not surprisingly the price for this medicine is nearly identical to what it charges for indocin. and a number of other ovation products have seen similar

Amy Klobuchar

0:51:20 to 0:51:41( Edit History Discussion )

Amy Klobuchar: drastic increases. drugs like indocin are the premiere treatments for a number of diseases. in an article in the medical journal "pediatrics," dr. job of cincinnati children's hospital described oh vase's pricing

Amy Klobuchar

0:51:41 to 0:51:55( Edit History Discussion )

Amy Klobuchar: of the drugs for the premature baby's heart condition as "quite extraordinary." he did not mean extraordinary in a good way. he wrote words such as "unconscionable, unethical and socially irresponsible

Amy Klobuchar

0:51:55 to 0:52:08( Edit History Discussion )

Amy Klobuchar: come to mind." the issue we have, an upstart company purchases drugs from another company and although the drugs have been on the market for years the upstart increases the prices drastically but ovation

Amy Klobuchar

0:52:08 to 0:52:23( Edit History Discussion )

Amy Klobuchar: isn't the only company engaged in this disturbing trend. look at this clarity and it shows where this is a timely issue as we approach the major health care debate we're going to go into next year, look

Amy Klobuchar

0:52:23 to 0:52:38( Edit History Discussion )

Amy Klobuchar: why this is such a timely issue. these are what we call, using the doctor's language "extraordinary price increases." what this chart shows is they are becoming more and more common. this measures the

Amy Klobuchar

0:52:38 to 0:52:52( Edit History Discussion )

Amy Klobuchar: number of branded drug products whose prices have more than doubled in a single price increase. we're used to go to the grocery store and see 1% increase, 5%, but then other markets like the oil market

Amy Klobuchar

0:52:52 to 0:53:08( Edit History Discussion )

Amy Klobuchar: where things are volatile. here you have it in the drug market. look at these drug products where the prices have more than doubled in one single price increase. back in 1998 it only happened five

Amy Klobuchar

0:53:08 to 0:53:31( Edit History Discussion )

Amy Klobuchar: times. back in 1994 it happened zero times. and then a gradual trend upward to where we are now, in the year 2008 and it has happened 64 times. this is a full-year projection based on six months of

Amy Klobuchar

0:53:31 to 0:53:47( Edit History Discussion )

Amy Klobuchar: data. so this is a projection of 64 times and in 2007 it was at 47 times. questor pharmaceutical was losing money at the rate of $1 million a month. the company's fortunes turned around after they

Amy Klobuchar

0:53:47 to 0:54:00( Edit History Discussion )

Amy Klobuchar: purchased a drug approved in the 1950's. a similar situation, drug approved years and years ago to treat multiple sclerosis but now the gold continue for treating a disorder that affects 2,000 families

Amy Klobuchar

0:54:00 to 0:54:18( Edit History Discussion )

Amy Klobuchar: in the united states of infantile spasm. we had a family from rhode island, the home of the presiding officer, with us at the hearing. the mother that testified i will never forget her story about how

Amy Klobuchar

0:54:18 to 0:54:38( Edit History Discussion )

Amy Klobuchar: she, her lite baby, is sick in the hospital suddenly having spasms and these could affect his brain. his name is trevor and she tries to get the drug that helps with this, and she finds out it is about

Amy Klobuchar

0:54:38 to 0:54:52( Edit History Discussion )

Amy Klobuchar: $2,000 per vile but then what happened? once it was sold to questor and her baby needed this drug the price of the drug skyrocketed to $23,000 per vial, a 14-fold increase. this mom and the dad are?

Amy Klobuchar

0:54:52 to 0:55:05( Edit History Discussion )

Amy Klobuchar: the hospital with their little baby, trevor, and the drug has gone up to $23,000 mr. vial. what do you think will happen? will the insurance company say, no problem. they had to negotiate for five

Amy Klobuchar

0:55:05 to 0:55:18( Edit History Discussion )

Amy Klobuchar: days with the insurance company, they had to get their neurologist involved who wrote a letter that it would affect the baby's life and the baby could be mentally retarded without the drug. the baby

Amy Klobuchar

0:55:18 to 0:55:30( Edit History Discussion )

Amy Klobuchar: had the drug for a matter of months and was off the drug. talk about shortsighted. after five days she got the drug approved. these people were missionaries in africa. they worked in africa. they didn't

Amy Klobuchar

0:55:30 to 0:55:43( Edit History Discussion )

Amy Klobuchar: have the money. they didn't have the house to mortgage but they were able to save their little baby's life because they fought hard enough to get it covered. from the data we heard yesterday we are

Amy Klobuchar

0:55:43 to 0:56:03( Edit History Discussion )

Amy Klobuchar: hitting just the tip of the iceberg because the problem isn't isolated to drugs that benefit small numbers of parents. avid ireases the price of a drug for aids that was often used by other companies

Amy Klobuchar

0:56:03 to 0:56:19( Edit History Discussion )

Amy Klobuchar: as an ingredient in the drug therapies. in 2003, avid jacked up the price by 500% at the same time that avid marketed their new product, another aids pharmaceutical drug that included norveer

Amy Klobuchar

0:56:19 to 0:56:36( Edit History Discussion )

Amy Klobuchar: and was a replacement for the drug therapy. the result forced patients and providers to turn to avid's drug instead of the formally cost effective alternative that used norveer and competitors' drugs.

Amy Klobuchar

0:56:36 to 0:57:01( Edit History Discussion )

Amy Klobuchar: previously undisclosed documents from "the wall street journal" showed they considered ways to promote this drug over the norveer and this bar graph shows the price increase of norveer before the

Amy Klobuchar

0:57:01 to 0:57:27( Edit History Discussion )

Amy Klobuchar: change was made at $257.18 and then up to $1,285.89, an,2 egregious increase. another example: the next chart shows a few examples of enormous price increases. a drug used to treat rare cancers had

Amy Klobuchar

0:57:27 to 0:57:57( Edit History Discussion )

Amy Klobuchar: a 1,000% increase for mustargen and another drug that treats kidney disease has a 3,500% increase. the names of the companies here, avid, ovation, ovation, questor, and you can see the prices before:

Amy Klobuchar

0:57:57 to 0:58:14( Edit History Discussion )

Amy Klobuchar: cosmogen is $16.59 and then $593.75, a 3,436% increase in a drug price. look at what we have seen with madeleine that goes nearly off the chart. this treats rare lymphoma an increase of 7,999%.

Amy Klobuchar

0:58:14 to 0:58:36( Edit History Discussion )

Amy Klobuchar: that's an 8,000% increase. what is this? to me, i'm not an economist but to me this looks like simple rice gouging and it is -- price gouging and it hurts not only the hospitals but also the patients

Amy Klobuchar

0:58:36 to 0:58:48( Edit History Discussion )

Amy Klobuchar: who rely on them. an elderly work from minnesota who suffers from t cell lymphoma had to pay $8,000 in out-of-pocket expenses for a drug i discussed sold biovacation whose increase -- by ovation

Amy Klobuchar

0:58:48 to 0:59:02( Edit History Discussion )

Amy Klobuchar: whose increase went from $50 to $5,000 after the company acquired the rights to the drug. what is the solution? in america, we have a serious problem with health care inflation and runaway costs.

Amy Klobuchar

0:59:02 to 0:59:16( Edit History Discussion )

Amy Klobuchar: that's not a surprise to anyone. it is no wonder with pharmaceutical companies like ovation or questor increasing prices to astronomical levels because of the lack of competition in the market, their actions

Amy Klobuchar

0:59:16 to 0:59:31( Edit History Discussion )

Amy Klobuchar: are able to exploit an extremely vulnerable and captive market. and it is not like the pharma ceutical industry is withering at the vine. you c see pharmaceutical companies are earning higher

Amy Klobuchar

0:59:31 to 0:59:46( Edit History Discussion )

Amy Klobuchar: profits than other fortune 500 companies. here are profits of other fortune 500 companies,om huge companies and thenan the pharmaceutical profits and theynd are always significantly ahead of other fortune

Amy Klobuchar

0:59:46 to 0:59:57( Edit History Discussion )

Amy Klobuchar: 500 companies. i wanted to mention the orphan drug act, timely for what we're talking about with the treatment of rare diseases. this was passed in 1983 to provide incentive to drug companies to develop

Amy Klobuchar

0:59:57 to 1:00:12( Edit History Discussion )

Amy Klobuchar: innovative drugs for rare diseases because without incentives drug companies may never be able to recoup research and development costs in the niche markets. what we have seen, however, is a handful of

Amy Klobuchar

1:00:12 to 1:00:25( Edit History Discussion )

Amy Klobuchar: drug companies have used this status of orphan drugs to keepee increasing costs well beyond the cost of research, development, and manufacturing. these staggering high prices, had turn, threaten the financial security

Amy Klobuchar

1:00:25 to 1:00:42( Edit History Discussion )

Amy Klobuchar: of middle-class families relying on these drugs. where generic drugs have helped lower the cost of many prescription drugs on the market generic com petition is also less likely to occur for orphan drugs.

Amy Klobuchar

1:00:42 to 1:01:03( Edit History Discussion )

Amy Klobuchar: according to a study published in the rand journal of economics, the market size if a drug has to be $32 million, $2,007 adjusted for inflation to ensure a generic in the market. for drugs around

Amy Klobuchar

1:01:03 to 1:01:22( Edit History Discussion )

Amy Klobuchar: for decades, to treat patient population of only a few t housand, there is often just not enough of an incentive for the drug to enter the market. a dramatic unprofor seeable increase in -- dramatic

Amy Klobuchar

1:01:22 to 1:01:38( Edit History Discussion )

Amy Klobuchar: in-- unfor seeable increase in price -- and representative waxman held a hague on a hearing on this. i asked the federal trade commission to initiative an investigation into a consequence arising out of

Amy Klobuchar

1:01:38 to 1:01:49( Edit History Discussion )

Amy Klobuchar: oh ovation's market actions. we need to ensure that the f.t.c. conducts the crucial investigations to guarantee competition, keeping costs low for consumers and encouraging innovation. that is one

Amy Klobuchar

1:01:49 to 1:02:01( Edit History Discussion )

Amy Klobuchar: drug coming out of my state, the state of minnesota because doctors had the foresight to see this was outrageous and figureig one company owned both of the drugs competing with each oth eer. but it is disturbing

Amy Klobuchar

1:02:01 to 1:02:14( Edit History Discussion )

Amy Klobuchar: that our providers, hospitals, and patients are blind sided by the exorbitant price increases. our federal government should be able to track the trends and pricing. if we start to monitor the data

Amy Klobuchar

1:02:14 to 1:02:26( Edit History Discussion )

Amy Klobuchar: there is more of a paper trail.| giving us enhanced ability to do something about these companies' practices. i favor re-importation of drugs from canada. i favor negotiating under medicare part-d

Amy Klobuchar

1:02:26 to 1:02:38( Edit History Discussion )

Amy Klobuchar: to save our seniors some money. all of these things must be on the table as we approach health care reform in the next year. but when provided with the right information on drug prices, especially in

Amy Klobuchar

1:02:38 to 1:02:48( Edit History Discussion )

Amy Klobuchar: smaller markets, doctors can be alerted of big price increases, potentially spurring generic alternatives to expensive drugs and giving the centers for medicare and medicaid the tools for information

Amy Klobuchar

1:02:48 to 1:03:02( Edit History Discussion )

Amy Klobuchar: to better track pricing in this market. to start looking at this information, i am in the process of working with the g.a.o. to look into the issue of drug pricing and these enormous increases. finally,

Amy Klobuchar

1:03:02 to 1:03:11( Edit History Discussion )

Amy Klobuchar: i intend to investigate whether the f.d.a. can fast track approval for generic drugs that would be just as safe and effective but much less expensive creating competition in markets with dramatic price

Amy Klobuchar

1:03:11 to 1:03:24( Edit History Discussion )

Amy Klobuchar: increases. i understand, mr. psident, that we have a market-based economy. it's fine for companies to make money on the products they sell. they should. but when we're dealing with the well-being of

Thomas Carper

1:03:24 to 1:03:36( Edit History Discussion )

Thomas Carper: sick patients, babies, and the elderly and everyone in between, we know that something's wrong here. these companies can't be allowed to make money off the backs of little babies that have holes in

Thomas Carper

1:03:24 to 1:07:39( Edit History Discussion )
Speech By: Thomas Carper

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