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Drugmakers invited to hearing on drug prices. Here’s what they’re saying

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Albert Bourla, chief executive officer of Pfizer pharmaceutical company, arrives to ring the closing bell at the New York Stock Exchange, January 17, 2019.

Drew Angerer | Getty Images

Albert Bourla, chief executive officer of Pfizer pharmaceutical company, arrives to ring the closing bell at the New York Stock Exchange, January 17, 2019.

Drugmakers have been reluctant to agree to testify before Congress at what is shaping up to be a series of hostile hearings examining the industry’s drug pricing practices.

None of the companies “invited” to speak at last week’s Senate Finance Committee hearing titled “Drug Pricing in America: A Prescription for Change, Part I” showed. But pharmaceutical companies are starting to come around this week, after some not-so-veiled threats by senators to “compel” their executives to testify, likely with subpoenas.

Lawmakers released letters inviting executives from AbbVie, AstraZeneca, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Johnson & Johnson, Merck, Pfizer and Sanofi to testify later this month at the hearing: “Drug Pricing in America: A Prescription for Change, Part II.”

So far, four of the seven invited have said they will send their CEOs to Capitol Hill. J&J is sending another executive, but not CEO Alex Gorsky, a spokeswoman said, declining to say why he’s sending someone in his stead. The other drugmakers may not have a choice, however. Senate Finance Committee ranking member Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., has stopped short of threatening to issue a subpoena, indicating that participation at the hearing isn’t entirely voluntary. Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, is chairman of the committee.

Here’s what the pharmaceutical companies are saying:

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