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Klobuchar calls for federal investigation of drug companies

WASHINGTON - Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., is calling for a Federal Trade Commission investigation of pharmaceutical companies for possible antitrust violations in light of recent alarming drug price increases.

WASHINGTON - Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., is calling for a Federal Trade Commission investigation of pharmaceutical companies for possible antitrust violations in light of recent alarming drug price increases.

For example, Turing Pharmaceuticals recently increased the price of an infectious disease drug, Daraprim, by 5,000 percent, until public pressure forced the company to commit to bringing the price back down, a Klobuchar release said.

Daraprim is used to treat toxoplasmosis, a parasitic infection that is particularly dangerous for people who have weakened immune systems, like AIDS and cancer patients, as well as pregnant women. There are reports that Turing and other pharmaceutical companies could be restricting drug distribution in a manner that violates the antitrust laws established in the Federal Trade Commission Act.

"Some companies may be combining a substantial price increase for a prescription medication with a closed distribution system," Klobuchar wrote. "If the restricted distribution prevents or delays generic competition, it could subject consumers to unnecessarily high prescription drug prices. We urge you to investigate whether companies are using restricted distribution in a manner that violates the Federal Trade Commission Act. This issue is extremely important to consumers; access to affordable drugs and in particular generics is a necessary element of affordable health care."

Klobuchar has been a leader in the Senate on addressing the high cost of prescription drugs, authoring multiple pieces of legislation that would protect American consumers. The Safe and Affordable Drugs from Canada Act aims to help Americans access safe, affordable prescription drugs from Canada by requiring that the Federal Drug Administration establish a personal importation program that would allow individuals to import a 90-day supply of prescription drugs from an approved Canadian pharmacy.

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The Preserve Access to Affordable Generics Act intends to expand consumers' access to the cost-saving generic drugs they need, increasing competition and choices for consumers by helping put an end to the practice of brand-name drug manufacturers using anti-competitive pay-off agreements to keep more affordable generic equivalents off the market.

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