Sen. Bernie Sanders and U.S. Rep. Elijah E. Cummings on Thursday launched an investigation into soaring generic drug prices. “We are conducting an investigation into the recent staggering price increases for generic drugs used to treat everything from common medical conditions to life-threatening illnesses,” Sanders, chairman of a Senate health care subcommittee, and Cummings, ranking member of the House oversight committee, wrote in letters to 14 pharmaceutical companies.
Today, 42% of doctors practice as salaried employees of hospital systems, up from 24% in 2004, according to Cegedim Relationship Management, a marketing consultant. As a result, the pharmaceutical industry is shifting its sales efforts from doctors to the institutions they work for. In 2005, drug companies employed about 102,000 U.S. sales representatives, who mostly pitch to doctors. By mid-2014, according to ZS Associates, a consulting firm, their numbers were down to about 63,000.