Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) a Senate Democratic letter to PhRMA last September decrying drug companies' denials of and conditions on 340B contract pharmacy drugs. | C-SPAN

Sanders Holding Senate Hearing on Drug Prices Next Week

U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) has scheduled a hearing next Tuesday of the U.S. Senate health subcommittee he chairs on why the United States pays the highest prices in the world for prescription drugs.

The Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Primary Care and Retirement Security Subcommittee hearing is scheduled for March 23 at 10:00 a.m. Eastern. Centrist Republican Susan Collins (Maine) is the HELP subcommittee’s ranking GOP member.

The subcommittee has not yet released a witness list or background memo. Nor has Sanders’ personal Senate office yet issued a media advisory about the upcoming hearing, which it often does for other hearings Sanders chairs.

Last September, Sanders signed a Senate Democratic letter to Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) President Stephen Ubl expressing “deep concern” over drug manufacturers’ denials or impositions of conditions on 340B pricing on drugs dispensed by contract pharmacies. It is not known if these actions will be raised at next week’s hearing.

More broadly on drug pricing policy, Sanders backs importation of less expensive prescription drugs from Canada and other major countries, letting the federal government negotiate lower drug prices under Medicare Part D, and pegging the price of prescription drugs in the United States to the median price in Canada, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, and Japan.