Republicans Warn Drug Companies Not to Cooperate with Congress

Washington -- BuzzFeed News article April 8, 2019 "Republicans Jim Jordan and Makr Meadows Drug Companies Not to Cooperate With Congressional Investigation"

The article reported the following:

Cummings requested information from 12 drug companies such as Pfizer Inc., Johnson & Johnson, and Novartis AG in January as part of a broad investigation into how the industry sets prescription drug prices.


In their letters, Reps. Jim Jordan and Mark Meadows — leaders of the hardline conservative House Freedom Caucus — imply that Cummings may be attempting to collect the information in order to bring down the industry’s stock prices.

They write that Cummings is seeking sensitive information “that would likely harm the competitiveness of your company if disclosed publicly.” They then accuse Cummings of “releasing cherry-picked excerpts from a highly sensitive closed-door interview” conducted in an investigation into White House security clearances. “This is not the first time he has released sensitive information unilaterally,” says the letter. The authors say they “feel obliged to alert” the drug companies of Cummings’ actions.

In their letter, Jordan and Meadows say that “while we cannot speculate about Chairman Cummings’ motives,” the committee should not pursue an investigation designed to impact stock prices.

This hinges on a quote from Cummings saying he has three staffers he calls “the drug team” who work on the high cost of drugs and that their work has lowered drug company stocks.

The quote omits the full context of Cummings’ remarks. At the time he was appearing before the Committee on House Administration seeking an increase in funding for his committee. (Jordan, as the ranking Oversight Republican, objected to a funding increase.)

In the edited quote, Cummings seems to be bragging about an “astronomical” impact on drug company stocks. In the context of his statements before and after, he seems to be saying the “astronomical” impact is on taxpayer savings, which justify giving his committee more resources. A minute later he says: “Whatever you all give us, we will give it back in savings by rooting out fraud, waste, and abuse.”

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