The chief executive officers at Johnson & Johnson and Merck reportedly dodged a possible subpoena — and have agreed to testify at a Senate hearing in February that will focus on prescription drug prices.

“The use of a subpoena was clearly a last resort and I’m delighted that these CEOs will be coming into our committee voluntarily,” Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., said in a statement, The Hill reported Friday.

The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee hearing is set for Feb. 8, when Johnson & Johnson CEO Joaquin Duato, Merck CEO Robert Davis, and Bristol Myers Squibb CEO Chris Boerner testify, the outlet reported.

The announcement came a day after Sanders goaded the execs for refusing to testify because they lacked expertise, The Hill reported.

The Senate panel had been poised to vote Jan. 31 on subpoenas, The Hill reported – and they would have been the first issued by the committee in more than 40 years.

“The use of a subpoena was clearly a last resort and I’m delighted that these CEOs will be coming into our committee voluntarily,” Sanders said in a statement, The Hill reported.

Sanders said he wants the execs to explain why their companies charge substantially higher prices for medicine in the United States compared with other countries.

All three firms manufacture some of the most expensive drugs sold in the United States —including the diabetes medication Januvia from Merck, the blood cancer drug Imbruvica from Johnson & Johnson, and the blood thinner sold as Eliquis from BMS, The Hill noted.

But the outlet noted Merck had claimed Sanders’ planned subpoena was a retaliatory action for the company’s decision to sue the federal government over the Medicare drug price negotiation program signed into law in 2022.


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