According to recent reports, Baxter, Pfizer Inc., and ICU Medical Inc. have received grand jury subpoenas connected to a Department of Justice Antitrust Division investigation of a shortage of intravenous saline solution in the U.S. since 2013
In 2015, Klobuchar and a bipartisan group of senators urged the Federal Trade Commission to investigate possible illegal collusion by saline manufacturers
WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar has issued the following statement on the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) investigation of possible anticompetitive conduct by intravenous saline solution manufacturers. According to recent reports, Baxter, Pfizer Inc., and ICU Medical Inc. have received grand jury subpoenas connected to a DOJ Antitrust Division investigation of a shortage of saline solution in the U.S. since 2013. In 2015, Klobuchar and Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Mike Lee (R-UT), and Orrin Hatch (R-UT) urged the Federal Trade Commission to investigate possible illegal collusion by saline manufacturers.
“Our healthcare system depends on intravenous saline solution to treat patients and fully function. That’s why I called for an investigation of potential collusion by saline manufacturers,” Klobuchar said. “It is promising that the Department of Justice is moving forward with an investigation to get to the bottom of the causes of this shortage and whether anticompetitive behavior is unfairly driving up healthcare costs.”
Klobuchar has championed efforts to protect consumers and lower costs by promoting competition in the healthcare system, including authoring multiple pieces of legislation that would address the high cost of prescription drugs. The bipartisan Preserve Access to Affordable Generics Act Klobuchar introduced with Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) would crack down on anti-competitive pay-offs in which branded companies pay their generic competitors not to compete as part of a patent settlement. These pay-off settlements (also known as “reverse payments”) delay consumer access to generic drugs, which can be as much as 90 percent cheaper than brand-name drugs. The legislation would stop these anti-competitive pay-off agreements to keep more affordable generic equivalents off the market and make sure consumers have access to the cost saving generics they need. She also introduced the Medicare Prescription Drug Price Negotiation Act, which would allow for Medicare to negotiate the best possible price of prescription drugs. Klobuchar joined with Senators Grassley, Patrick Leahy (D-VT), and Mike Lee (R-UT) to introduce the Creating and Restoring Equal Access to Equivalent Samples (CREATES) Act to deter pharmaceutical companies from blocking cheaper generic alternatives from entering the marketplace. In addition, Klobuchar introduced the Safe and Affordable Drugs from Canada Act with Senator John McCain (R-AZ) that would require the Food and Drug Administration to establish a personal importation program that would allow individuals to import a 90-day supply of prescription drugs from an approved Canadian pharmacy.