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House Dems Ask FTC To Probe AbbVie’s Pricing Of Humira

 |  May 18, 2021

Three House Democrats called on the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to investigate drugmaker AbbVie for its pricing of Humira, the best-selling drug in the US and internationally. 

House Oversight and Reform Committee Chair Carolyn Maloney (Democrat – New York), Judiciary Committee Chair Jerrold Nadler (Democrat – New York), and a Judiciary Subcommittee Chair David Cicilline (Democrat – Rhode Island) requested a formal inquiry into AbbVie through a letter to acting FTC Chair Rebecca Kelly Slaughter.

The requested probe would examine whether the drugmaker violated the law by delaying competition against its drug Humira, which treats rheumatoid arthritis and other inflammatory diseases, from lower-costing versions of the drug.  

Maloney announced the call for the investigation at a House Oversight and Reform Committee hearing ahead of testimony from AbbVie CEO Richard Gonzalez on drug pricing. 

The Oversight and Reform Committee chair stated the committee obtained internal documents showing the drugmaker’s executives projected Humira would face competition from biosimilars starting in 2017.

“But AbbVie used legally questionable tactics to block lower-price biosimilars from reaching American consumers until at least 2023,” she added. “Those tactics made AbbVie a fortune but cost Americans dearly.”

The letter claimed that AbbVie faces no competition against Humira in the US and entered into nine patent settlement agreements with potential competitors, postponing other companies from introducing biosimilar drugs until 2023. In Europe, AbbVie competes with at least six biosimilars to Humira.

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