A congressman is going after Trump for the price of a drug he 'owns'

House Democrats are trying a new approach to get drug pricing back on the president’s agenda. 

On Thursday, Rep. Elijah Cummings of Maryland tweeted at President Donald Trump telling him to bring down drug prices on a drug “YOU own.”

“Mr. President, you promised to lower drug prices, but companies are charging $US87k/yr for a drug YOU own. Please act now!” Cummings said. 

The drug in question is Zinbryta, a drug that was approved by the FDA in 2016. The drug has a list price of $US86,000 per year. In August, Cummings and Rep. Peter Welch of Massachusetts requested information from seven drugmakers as part of an investigation into the prices of MS medications. 

While Trump doesn’t personally “own” the drug, the National Institutes of Health do own the patents to the drug, which Cummings argues gives the agency the opportunity to lower the price. Biogen, which makes Zinbryta, did not immediately respond to a request for comment on whether that interpretation was accurate. 

MS is a disease of the central nervous system that damages the material that surrounds your nerve cells, which are cells responsible for transmitting signals around the body. Cutting off those signals can lead to symptoms like muscle weakness, trouble with coordination, and problems with memory.

The price of MS medications has been increasing in recent years. According to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, the average annual cost for medications in 2016 was $US78,000, up 400% from the $US16,000 annual cost in 2004. 

Business Insider Emails & Alerts

Site highlights each day to your inbox.

Follow Business Insider Australia on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.