Investigation of Skyrocketing Prescription Drug Prices

Chairman Cummings became interested in the accessibility and affordability of prescription drugs after he received a heartfelt letter in 2011 from Brenda Frese, the women’s head basketball coach at the University of Maryland. Ms. Frese’s son was diagnosed with leukemia and treated with a chemotherapy drug called cytarabine, which at that time was on the FDA’s drug shortage list.  

Chairman Cummings launched an investigation into the exorbitant prices of shortage drugs. His investigation revealed that so-called “gray market” drug companies were buying up this drug and selling it at highly inflated prices, effectively holding the drug hostage from those who desperately needed it.  Cummings’ investigation further revealed that this was not an isolated incident.

For more than two years, Cummings has been investigating the escalating costs of medications used to treat everything from common medical conditions to life-threatening illnesses and working to identify measures that would provide access to affordable medications for patients, healthcare providers, and hospitals across the country.