chuck grassley
Senate Finance Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley

The Senate Finance Committee is preparing to question seven top pharmaceutical executives on Tuesday as it investigates drug pricing.

The Tuesday morning hearing will be the second of this Congress on the topic. Previously, lawmakers questioned the mother of a child with diabetes and policy experts from the American Action Forum, Laura and John Arnold Foundation, and Memorial Sloan Kettering. The experts offered approaches the government could take to address high drug costs.

In January, the committee invited seven drugmakers to testify. The executives initially declined, but after committee leaders became more insistent, the companies decided to send representatives.

The Senate Finance Committee is expecting the top executives from AbbVie, AstraZeneca, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Merck, Pfizer, and Sanofi. Instead of its CEO, Johnson & Johnson is planning to send the head of Janssen Pharmaceuticals. Five of these companies are under investigation by a separate group of lawmakers in the House of Representatives.

Tuesday’s hearing could be the start of legislative action on drug pricing, which the Trump administration has begun to address through the Department of Health and Human Services. HHS has implemented rules that streamline generic and biosimilar approval to foster competition and a Medicare program that bases prices on an international standard.

Many lawmakers have proposed bills to address drug pricing, including legislation that allows Medicare as a whole to negotiate drug prices, amend exclusivity periods for drugs, and require drugmakers to disclose price changes. None have made it to the president’s desk.

MM&M will be following the Senate hearing live. Check our website and Twitter feed for updates after the hearing begins on Tuesday at 10:15 a.m. EST.