In an effort to curb America’s problem of having the highest drug prices in the world, Senators Bernie Sanders and Ro Khanna have proposed new legislation that would attack prescription drug price-gouging.
The Prescription Drug Price Relief Act, which will be introduced at the start of the new Congress, will require the Secretary of Health and Human Services to make sure that Americans don’t pay more for prescription drugs than the median price in five major countries: Canada, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, and Japan. Additionally, the act provides that the federal government approve cheaper generic versions of drugs in cases where the pharmaceutical manufacturers refuse to lower drug prices below the median price.
“No other country allows pharmaceutical companies to charge any price they want for any reason they want. Somebody in America today can walk into a pharmacy and find out that the medicine they have been using for years can double, triple or quadruple literally overnight. That needs to change,” Sanders stated. “The greed of the prescription drug industry is literally killing Americans and it has got to stop.”
No other country allows pharma companies to charge any price they want for any reason they want. That has to change.
— Bernie Sanders (@SenSanders) November 20, 2018
Part of the problem in the United States is that the federal government bestows long-term, exclusive monopolies on pharmaceutical companies. The result is Big Pharma companies are basically immune to market competition and public regulation.
“The government is giving an exclusive monopoly to pharmaceuticals,” Khanna told HuffPost. “If a company abuses that grant by fleecing American consumers, then they lose that privilege, that property grant, that subsidy from the government.”