Second take on short-supply drug markups exonerates distributors

Rep. Elijah Cummings may have overstated alleged "gray market" price-gouging for drugs in short supply and done a public disservice to small distributors, according to Superior Medical Supply, one of his probe targets. In early October, Cummings cited data from a report published by group purchaser Premier health alliance showing that short-supply drug markups average 650% and have reached 4,500%. Pharmaceutical Commerce reported last week that Premier acknowledged its data showed a markup range of 29% to 729%. Plus, the comparison ignores the "market reality" that prices negotiated by group purchasers are generally 40% to 50% lower than the small distributor cost, says a statement from the National Coalition of Pharmaceutical Distributors. Letter | Story | NCPD release