Senator Stabenow Questions Pharmaceutical CEOs on High Drug Prices

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Ranking Member of the Health Subcommittee of the Senate Finance Committee, today questioned the CEOs of seven leading pharmaceutical companies in a hearing regarding the high cost of prescription drugs.


Senator Stabenow called attention to the fact that American taxpayers fund billions of dollars in basic research for pharmaceutical companies to develop new medicines. According to a recent report, NIH-funded research contributed to every single one of the 210 new drugs approved by the FDA from 2010–2016. Cumulatively, American families contributed more than $200 billion in grants towards research.


WATCH Senator Stabenow’s opening remarks in the Senate Finance Committee.




According to their most recent SEC filings, the seven companies testifying today spent $79.16 billion on selling, marketing, and administrative expenses last year – $22 billion more than what they spent on research and development. The Republican tax bill also gave pharmaceutical companies a huge tax cut but these companies are still not lowering prices for families. Stabenow also noted that the seven CEOs who testified today made over $100 million in compensation in 2017.


“Big Pharma charges more because it can,” Senator Stabenow said today in the Senate Finance Committee hearing. “People in Michigan deserve better and they should be able to afford their medicine here at home.”


Senator Stabenow also questioned the CEO of AbbVie, Richard Gonzalez, regarding the high price of Humira, the world’s best-selling drug that treats arthritis, Crohn’s disease, and ulcerative colitis. AbbVie Pharmaceuticals is offering up to 80% discounts for European customers to buy Humira. No such deal exists for American consumers.


WATCH Senator Stabenow’s questions for the CEO of AbbVie.