On the morning of Thursday, March 7, the House Ways & Means Committee’s Subcommittee on Health held a hearing titled Promoting Competition to Lower Medicare Drug Prices. The hearing focused a great deal on the effect of patents in the pharmaceutical industry as they relate to pricing. Although some of the Republican membership of the subcommittee pointed out issues with various proposals to limit patent protections for drugmakers, the panel acted largely as a firing squad for patents. In his closing statement, Rep. Doggett expressed his dissatisfaction with the tenor of the day’s debate. “I view it as encouraging that there is bipartisan recognition of the serious problems so many Americans are facing with, really, prescription price gouging,” he said. “The question is whether we’ll have any bipartisan agreement on doing anything about it.”
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