Wheeling Hospital Backs Sen. Rockefeller’s Efforts on Drug Price Gouging; Hospital Taking Hard Stand on “Gray Market Drugs”
June 15, 2012
WHEELING, W.Va. – Wheeling Hospital officials are supporting actions taken by U.S. Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., to address reported price gouging of prescription drugs by certain companies.
Rockefeller, Senate Finance Subcommittee chairman, today announced the expansion of his anti-price-gouging prescription drug effort to the ongoing House-Senate negotiations on the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) reauthorization legislation.
The senator has been investigating the practice of companies accused of purposely buying critical drugs in short supply – so-called gray market drugs – and then selling them at a much higher cost to doctors and hospitals. These have included lifesaving drugs for conditions such as leukemia in children, breast cancer, seizures and other afflictions.
“It’s been a daily challenge to obtain these critical drugs,” noted Dr. Lisa Schatz, senior director of Pharmacy Services at Wheeling Hospital.
“We refuse to use any gray market drugs because we cannot determine their pedigree. They can be counterfeit and/or contaminated. We have been working with drug manufacturers to make many of our drugs from ‘scratch’ to ensure they are of the highest quality. This comes at a price for us, but it’s essential to patient safety. But rest assured, these higher costs are not being passed on to our patients.”
Rockefeller stated today his goal is to prevent “shady companies” from profiting from those with serious medical needs who depend on these drugs.
“Like many hospitals across the U.S., we have been impacted by the shortage of specific drugs. We’re managing the situation, but our hope is the problem eases and, in particular, that unfair and inhumane practices such as those documented by Senator Rockefeller come to an end. We appreciate the senator’s determination to make much needed drugs available at their intended prices,” said Ron Violi, Wheeling Hospital chief executive officer.
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