Senate Antitrust Subcommittee, Hearing of Mar. 15, 2006, "Hospital Group Purchasing: Are the Industry's Reforms Sufficient to Ensure Competition?"
Senate Antitrust Subcommittee, Hearing of Apr. 30, 2002, "Hospital Group Purchasing: Lowering Costs at the Expense of Patient Health and Medical Innovations?"
Senate Antitrust Subcommittee, Hearing of Sept. 14, 2004, "Hospital Group Purchasing: How to Maintain Innovation and Cost Savings"
Senate Antitrust Subcommittee, Hearing of July 16, 2003, "Hospital Group Purchasing: Has the Market Become More Open to Competition?"
"We have heard startling allegations of scandal and conflicts of interest that have infected" these [hospital group purchasing organizations] groups..."These practices are appalling and cannot be tolerated."
Senator Herb Kohl (D-WI), chairman, Senate Antitrust Subcommittee
Statement at Senate Antitrust Subcommittee hearing on GPOs, April 30, 2002
* * * * *
On April 30, 2002, the Senate Judiciary Committee Subcommittee on Antitrust, Business Rights, and Competition held the first of four hearings on the anticompetitive practices of hospital group purchasing organizations (GPOs). The hearings were triggered by a Feb. 25, 2001 60 Minutes segment on how unfair contracting practices kept safer needles out of hospitals, followed by a New York Times investigative series on GPO abuses entitled "Medicine's Middlemen," as well as numerous complaints by entrepreneurial medical devices makers concerning the barriers to market access created by GPOs. Led by Senators Herb Kohl (D-WI) and Mike DeWine (R-OH), the panel uncovered voluminous examples of self-dealing, conflicts of interest, unfair trade practices and other abuses. Investigations by the GAO, the Office of the Inspector General of the Department of Health and Human Services, and other agencies corroborated their findings.
To avert reform legislation, the GPO industry promised to write and adhere to a code of conduct that would bar many of these abuses. But as City University Prof. S. Prakash Sethi, an expert on voluntary codes of conduct, testified at the Senate Antitrust hearing of March 15, 2006, "I don't think this initiative amounts to much, if anything." So by 2010, the same egregious practices that had kept better, cheaper, safer medical devices out of American hospitals had begun to give rise to unprecedented shortages of generic prescription drugs.
Senate Finance Committee Hearing of Dec. 7, 2011, "Drug Shortages: Why They Happen and What They Mean"
House Energy & Commerce Committee Hearing of Sept. 23, 2011, "Examining the Increase in Drug Shortages"
Senate HELP Committee Hearing of October 17, 2017, "The Cost of PrescriptionDrugs: How the Drug Delivery System Affects What Patients Pay, Part II"
House Energy & Commerce Committee Hearing of Feb. 9, 2012, "Review of the Proposed Generic Drug and Biosimilars User Fees and Further Examination of Drug Shortages"
House Energy and Commerce Committee Hearing of Feb. 10, 2014, "Examining Drug Shortages and Recent Efforts to Address Them"
Drug Shortages/Soaring Prices
House Small Business Committee, Hearing of Sept. 25, 2008, "Small Business Competition Policy: Are Markets Open for Entrepreneurs?"
Senate Commerce, Science & Transportation Committee Hearing of July 25, 2012,"Short-Supply Prescription Drugs: Shining a Light on the Gray Market"
Senate Committee on Commerce, Science & Transportation, Hearing of July 16, 2009, "Competition in the Healthcare Marketplace" [See David Balto, p. 28]
Senate HELP Committee Hearing of Jan. 28. 2016, "Generic Drug User Fee Amendments: Accelerating Patient Access to Generic Drugs"
Senate Special Committee on Aging Hearing of Dec. 9, 2015, "Sudden Price Spikes in Off-Patent Drugs: Perspectives from the Front"
Senate Subcommittee on Primary Health & Aging, Hearing of Nov. 20, 2014, "Why Are Some Drugs Skyrocketing in Price?"
Senate HELP Committee Hearing of June 13, 2017, "The Cost of Prescription Drugs: How the Drug Delivery System Affects What Patients Pay"
House Oversight & Government Reform Committee Hearing of Feb. 4, 2016, "Developments in the Prescription Drug Market"
Senate HELP Committee Hearing of Dec. 15, 2011, "Prescription Drug Shortages: Examining a Public Health Concern and Potential Solutions"
House Committee on Oversight & Government Reform Hearing of Nov. 30, 2011, "Drug Shortage Crisis: Lives Are in the Balance"
House Democratic Steering & Policy Committee Hearing of Dec. 2, 2015, "Ensuring Access and Affordability of Prescription Drugs, While Spurring Innovation"
- Anticompetitive Abuses of GPOs