An investigation by Project On Government Oversight investigation found at least seven of 14 committee members charged with advising Congress on drug policy had undisclosed past or current financial ties to drug companies. One member earned $875 per hour as an expert witness for Merck.

“Five years ago, a study published in a medical journal alleged that drug companies were systematically overcharging for some of the world’s most expensive medicines, including drugs for cancer.

The headline-grabbing study said manufacturers were packaging intravenous medicines in vials containing much more medicine than the average patient would need — and profiting from the excess.

This year, the National Academies delivered its advice, and the result must have been music to the ears of drug makers. In a February report, a committee convened by the National Academies concluded that it would be a mistake for the government to try to recoup the allegedly wasted spending.

The report included a wealth of biographical information about committee members, but on one subject it was oddly and strikingly silent. It said almost nothing about their connections to the pharmaceutical industry.”