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Drugmaker to testify on why weight-loss drugs cost 15x more in the US

Lars Fruergaard Jorgensen, chief executive officer Novo Nordisk A/S, during an interview at the company's headquarters in Bagsvaerd, Denmark, on Monday, June 12, 2023.

Enlarge / Lars Fruergaard Jorgensen, chief executive officer Novo Nordisk A/S, during an interview at the company’s headquarters in Bagsvaerd, Denmark, on Monday, June 12, 2023. (credit: Getty | Carsten Snejbjerg)

After some persuasion from Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), the CEO of Novo Nordisk will testify before lawmakers later this year on the “outrageously high cost” of the company’s diabetes and weight-loss drugs—Ozempic and Wegovy—in the US.

CEO Lars Jørgensen will appear before the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP), which is chaired by Sanders, in early September. The agreement came after a conversation with Sanders in which the CEO reportedly “reconsidered his position” and agreed to testify voluntarily. As such, Sanders has canceled a vote scheduled for June 18 on whether to subpoena Novo Nordisk to discuss its US prices, which are considerably higher than those of other countries.

The independent lawmaker has been working for months to pressure Novo Nordisk into lowering its prices and appearing before the committee. In April, Sanders sent Jørgensen a letter announcing an investigation into the prices and included a lengthy set of information requests. In May, the committee’s investigation released a report suggesting that Novo Nordisk’s current pricing threatens to “bankrupt our entire health care system.”

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