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Senate Hearings Investigate Rising Price Of Medications

The Senate Special Committee on Aging is holding the first of a series of hearings Wednesday into why the prices of medicines that have been on the market for decades are suddenly climbing.

The investigation by the Senate committee, led by Maine Republican Susan Collins and Missouri Democrat Claire McCaskill, is focusing on four pharmaceutical companies that bought the rights to certain drugs, and then dramatically increased the prices.

Collins called the price hikes — as much as nearly 5,000 percent in one case — "egregious."

"We've had non-traditional companies come in, buy the rights to these drugs and then hike it up very high — and, as one executive put it, just because they can," Collins tells NPR.

The full version of this story is available online at NPR's Shots blog.

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