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Congressional Probe Finds Drugmaker Put Profits First

By JM Rieger and Melanie Zanona

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The makers of a costly hepatitis drug put profits ahead of patient affordability and accessibility when pricing the medication, according to the findings of a congressional investigation unveiled Tuesday.The 18-month probe, led by Senate Finance Committee ranking Democrat Ron Wyden of Oregon and Republican Charles E. Grassley of Iowa, reviewed 20,000 pages of documents and conducted dozens of interviews to determine how Gilead Sciences priced Sovaldi and a successor medicine, Harvoni. Wyden and Grassley said at a press conference Tuesday that Gilead remained focused on maximizing profits even though the company was aware that a lower medication price would have allowed more patients to be treated.

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