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Week Ahead: Senate committee to grill Big Pharma on drug prices

Feb. 25: Wall Street watchers predict a dip in revenue when Dallas-based Tenet Healthcare Corp. releases its fourth-quarter earnings. Zacks Investment Research anticipates the for-profit hospital chain’s revenue to be down 9.8% from the same period in 2017. The company is also expected to report that it paid off close to $30 million of debt.

Feb. 26: Who’s bringing the popcorn? Executives from seven Big Pharma companies will line up for questioning from the Senate Finance Committee in a hearing dubbed “Drug Pricing in America: A Prescription for Change, Part II.” Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) started the inquiry into drug prices last month. Grassley has supported efforts to crack down on manufacturer pay-to-delay tactics that stall generics from entering the market, as well as legislation to expedite generic drugs and biosimilars to market, which faces opposition from drug companies.

Feb. 27: The Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee is scheduled to examine what steps Congress can take to improve data security. “In an age of rapid innovation in technology, consumers need transparency in how their data is collected and used,” committee Chairman Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) said in a statement announcing the hearing.

Feb. 27: King of Prussia, Pa.-based Universal Health Services could deliver positive news in its earnings call. Analysts project Q4 revenue to be up 3.4% from the prior-year period. During a third-quarter earnings call in October, UHS Chief Financial Officer Steve Filton softened the organization’s stance on raising revenue by 5% in 2018. “We continue to work in a terribly focused and disciplined way on improving that behavioral same-store revenue growth dynamic,” he said. “But I think we also acknowledge that we’ve created this 5% target and now disappointed a couple of times both internally and externally.”