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Grassley, Wyden Warn Optum to Comply with Insulin Probe

February 27,2020

Washington – Senate Finance Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley
(R-Iowa) and Ranking Member Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) wrote
to Optum, a pharmacy benefit manager (PBM), warning it to fully comply with the
committee’s investigation into skyrocketing insulin prices. Grassley and Wyden
wrote that Optum’s production of irrelevant, already publicly available or
duplicative documents is not considered responsive to the committee’s request.

“Optum’s unwillingness to provide the documents
we requested fits an industry-wide pattern of fighting efforts to shed light on
PBMs’ practices,” Grassley and Wyden wrote. “Families are struggling to
keep up with rising costs, and they do not understand why they continue paying
more money for a therapy that has remained largely unchanged for decades.
Americans are demanding answers from PBMs and pharmaceutical companies, and we
expect your company to begin providing them promptly.”

Grassley and Wyden have engaged Optum for nearly
a year and have repeatedly communicated concerns about Optum’s shortcomings
with their request.

Letter can be found HERE.
Earlier this week, Grassley and Wyden warned
Express Scripts
, a PBM owned by the Cigna Corporation, that a failure to
produce requested documents would result in a subpoena.
In February 2019,
Grassley and Wyden began their
bipartisan investigation
 into the rapidly rising price of
insulin in the United States by questioning the three leading insulin
manufacturers. In April 2019, Grassley and Wyden sent
three letters
 to leading PBMs, including one to Optum,
regarding their role in the high price of insulin. Optum was one of five
PBMs
 represented at an April committee hearing regarding
the role of prescription drug middlemen in the drug supply chain.

The Senate Finance
Committee has jurisdiction over Medicare and Medicaid. Taxpayers spend hundreds
of billions of dollars annually on each federal program, including on
prescription drugs. PBMs generate significant business from Medicare and
Medicaid.



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