Thursday, January 17, 2019

Sanders and Khanna unveil bill to lower drug prices to combat greedy corporations

"How many people need to die, how many people need to get unnecessarily sicker before Congress is prepared to take on the greed of the prescription drug industry?"

Senators Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Ro Khanna (D-CA) have unveiled a new bill to fight back against the pharmaceutical industry, an industry whose greed is responsible for the spreading drug epidemic ravaging the United States.

The package of legislation aims to reduce the nation’s prescription drug prices – and for good reason. The United States pays, by far, the highest prices in the world for prescription drugs. According to a government report released in 2017, drug manufacturers and distributors charged Medicare nearly double the prices seen in other countries.

“If the pharmaceutical industry will not end its greed, which is literally killing Americans, then we will end it for them,” Bernie Sanders says.

The Prescription Drug Relief Act was unveiled at a press conference in Washington, D.C.:

The legislation will hopefully gain more than just Democratic support, as President Trump has agreed that prescription drug prices are too high. In 2017 Trump and his Secretary of Department of Health and Human Services, Alex Azar, went as far as to put forward an idea for establishing an “international pricing index” to guide pricing negotiations for prescription drugs.

The legislative package includes the following:

  • The Prescription Drug Price Relief Act, which would “peg the price of prescription drugs in the United States to the median price in five major countries: Canada, the United Kingdom, France, Germany and Japan”;
  • The Medicare Drug Price Negotiation Act, to “direct the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) to negotiate lower prices for prescription drugs under Medicare Part D”; and
  • The Affordable and Safe Prescription Drug Importation Act, which to “allow Americans to import safe, low-cost medicine from Canada and other major countries.”

Currently, there is huge support from the public on many of these goals. Polling from a Kaiser Family Foundation showed recently that the majority of the public supports allowing the federal government to negotiate drug prices for Medicare recipients.

“How many people need to die,” asks Sanders, “before Congress is prepared to take on the greed of the prescription drug industry?”

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