Senators urge pharma CEOs to rein in lobbyists

WASHINGTON (AP) – Seven top pharmaceutical executives are telling lawmakers they do not withhold their drugs from potential competitors to stop them from developing cheaper versions.

Generic drugmakers can only develop lower-cost versions of brand-name medicines if they obtain samples of the original drugs. Some drugmakers have blocked competition for their medications by preventing would-be competitors from obtaining samples of the drugs.

But the executives from Pfizer, Merck, Sanofi and four other companies said Tuesday at a congressional hearing on drug prices that they do not use the tactic. Several executives also say they support a bill in Congress that would ban the practice.

Members of the Senate Finance Committee say they plan to overhaul industry practices to lower drug prices for U.S. patients.

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