House Investigates Obama Deal With Drug Companies?
Pfizer Inc. and Merck & Co. are being pulled into an expanding
congressional investigation into the deal drugmakers cut with the Obama
administration to support Democrats’ overhaul of the U.S. health-care system,
according to three people familiar with the talks.
The probe began last year, with Republicans on the House Energy and Commerce
Committee demanding documents from the industry’s trade group, said the people,
who aren’t authorized to speak publicly. When that group didn’t cooperate, the
panel decided to directly target Pfizer, the world’s biggest drugmaker, along
with Merck, Amgen Inc., Abbott Laboratories and AstraZeneca Plc, said one of the
The Republicans last month began reaching out to the companies in e-mails,
calls and meetings demanding documents and information outlining what the
industry agreed to with President Barack Obama in 2009 and 2010, when the law
was being negotiated with Congress. Michael Burgess, a Republican Representative
from Texas, said he’s been frustrated by a lack of cooperation.
“This has been like pulling teeth, trying to get information,” said Burgess,
who is working on the panel’s investigation, in a telephone interview.
The investigation is exposing a tenuous relationship that has developed
between the industry and Washington since passage of a law that expanded health
insurance to more than 30 million Americans.
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