Q&A: EpiPen Pricing

Q.  Why are you looking into the pricing practices of an FDA-approved product known as an EpiPen?
Q.  What steps have you taken to achieve accountability and transparency in the EpiPen pricing matter?

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This week the Senate passed a bill that will improve the responsiveness and performance of the Veterans Crisis Line, the confidential, toll-free hotline for veterans seeking suicide prevention and crisis resources help from the Department of Veterans Affairs. I co-sponsored the Senate version of this bill because we've seen too many suicides of veterans in Iowa whose loved ones said they struggled to get help. Bills like this and oversight of the VA are more important than ever.

I also asked the inspector general of the Department of Veterans Affairs to conduct a thorough investigation into the treatment of a Johnston veteran who committed suicide. U.S. Army veteran Curtis Gearhart was reportedly told he would have to wait up to six weeks for an appointment to treat his severe headaches well beyond the VA's goal of 30 days for treatment.

In September, I held a hearing on several proposed deals involving seed and agrochemical companies. If the deals are approved, it could result in less competition and higher prices for farmers and consumers. I also have concerns that one of the companies involved, ChemChina, is a Chinese state-owned enterprise and may use the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act to skirt responsibility in U.S. courts if a legal challenge emerges over company practices. ChemChina said that immunity would not extend to Syngenta’s U.S. business, but it failed to acknowledge that immunity would otherwise apply to a wholly state-owned entity.

The Department of Health and Human Services started to implement the opioid addiction bill I led through the Senate. In January I called for allowing nurse practitioners and physician assistants to be able to prescribe addiction-fighting medication, and then in July we passed the Comprehensive Addiction Recovery Act, which includes this provision. I hope the administration will continue to implement the landmark law, as I'll continue work to fight this epidemic on all fronts.

Inauguration Tickets

Iowans have until January 1, 2017, to submit requests for tickets to the 58th Presidential Inauguration swearing-in ceremony through my office. Iowans interested in requesting tickets should submit their names and contact information on my website: http://www.grassley.senate.gov/2017-presidential-inauguration.  Tickets will be allotted based on a lottery.

Information and tickets for events other than the swearing-in ceremony, such as Inaugural balls and the Inaugural parade, are handled through the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies (JCCIC). We expect its website to be updated soon with information on those events.

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