Hearing for pricing of Anti-inflammatory Drug Humira and Cancer Drug Imbruvica

Hearing for pricing of Anti-inflammatory Drug Humira and Cancer Drug Imbruvica

On Tuesday of this week Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney, the Chairwoman of the Committee on Oversight and Reform, will hold a hybrid hearing to examine the pricing and business practices of AbbVie Inc., which sells the anti-inflammatory drug Humira and the cancer drug Imbruvica.

Humira is the best-selling drug in the United States and the world.  Since launching Humira in 2003, AbbVie has raised its price 27 times.  Humira is now priced at $2,984 per syringe, or $77,586 annually—a 470% increase from when the drug entered the market.

AbbVie, and its partner Janssen Biotech, Inc., have also raised the price of Imbruvica nine times since launching the drug in 2013.  Today, Imbruvica is priced at $181,529 per year for a patient taking three pills per day, as compared to $99,776 per year at launch.

The committee began its investigation into the pricing policies of 12 drug companies that sell 19 of the costliest medications for patients, consumers and taxpayers in January of 2019.  It sent requests for information on price increases, investments in research and development, and corporate strategies to preserve market share and pricing power for their products.

All of the companies were sent follow-up letters in June of that year requesting voluntary compliance with the Committee’s requests.

However, a third letter was sent only to AbbVie warning that its responses were “woefully inadequate” and that the Committee would consider a subpoena if the company failed to provide complete responses.

On September 1, 2020, Chairwoman Maloney notified all Committee Members of her intent to issue a subpoena to AbbVie if they continued to stonewall the Committee’s investigation.  After this notice, AbbVie finally began producing long overdue materials in response to the Committee’s requests.