Schakowsky questions drug companies on tax breaks

U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky, D-Evanston, wants to know how major pharmaceutical companies are spending tax breaks they received under the new tax law and whether they’re going to use them to bring down drug prices.

Schakowsky joined 15 other House members on letters to Amgen, AbbVie, Eli Lilly, Merck and Pfizer this week. They wrote that the companies have benefited from tax breaks, yet reports show double digit annual retail price increases for medications.

“A life-saving drug is 100 percent ineffective when it is unaffordable,” Schakowsky said in a statement. “We need answers from these PhRMA execs about why the taxpayer dollars they receive don’t benefit taxpayers – and we need them now.”

Sharon Castillo, a spokesperson for Pfizer, said they received the letter and are reviewing it. “It would be inappropriate for us to comment in the media ahead of delivering an official response,” she wrote in an email.

Kelley Davenport, a spokesperson for Amgen, said they’re also “reviewing the letter and will respond accordingly.”

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