February 27,2020

Grassley, Wyden Warn Optum to Comply with Insulin Probe

Washington – Senate Finance Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Ranking Member Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) wrote to Optum, a pharmacy benefit manager (PBM), warning it to fully comply with the committee’s investigation into skyrocketing insulin prices. Grassley and Wyden wrote that Optum’s production of irrelevant, already publicly available or duplicative documents is not considered responsive to the committee’s request.
“Optum’s unwillingness to provide the documents we requested fits an industry-wide pattern of fighting efforts to shed light on PBMs’ practices,” Grassley and Wyden wrote. “Families are struggling to keep up with rising costs, and they do not understand why they continue paying more money for a therapy that has remained largely unchanged for decades. Americans are demanding answers from PBMs and pharmaceutical companies, and we expect your company to begin providing them promptly.”
Grassley and Wyden have engaged Optum for nearly a year and have repeatedly communicated concerns about Optum’s shortcomings with their request.
Letter can be found HERE.
Earlier this week, Grassley and Wyden warned Express Scripts, a PBM owned by the Cigna Corporation, that a failure to produce requested documents would result in a subpoena.
In February 2019, Grassley and Wyden began their bipartisan investigation into the rapidly rising price of insulin in the United States by questioning the three leading insulin manufacturers. In April 2019, Grassley and Wyden sent three letters to leading PBMs, including one to Optum, regarding their role in the high price of insulin. Optum was one of five PBMs represented at an April committee hearing regarding the role of prescription drug middlemen in the drug supply chain.

The Senate Finance Committee has jurisdiction over Medicare and Medicaid. Taxpayers spend hundreds of billions of dollars annually on each federal program, including on prescription drugs. PBMs generate significant business from Medicare and Medicaid.