Biden and Sanders denounce ‘corporate greed’ in Big Pharma, demand lower drug prices

President Biden and Sen. Bernie Sanders call out pharmaceutical companies for overcharging Americans, urging immediate reform.

Image Credit: Screenshot from CNN

President Joe Biden and Sen. Bernie Sanders have jointly called for immediate action to lower prescription drug prices, criticizing pharmaceutical companies for “ripping off” Americans. In a powerful op-ed published in USA Today, Biden and Sanders outlined the steps they have taken to address the issue, called out specific pharmaceutical companies for their exorbitant pricing, and vowed to combat “corporate greed.”

“There is no rational reason why Americans, for decades, have been forced to pay, by far, the highest prices in the world for the prescription drugs they need,” Biden and Sanders wrote. They highlighted the plight of 1 in 4 Americans who cannot afford their medications and argued against the notion that Americans should subsidize lower drug prices for other countries.

The high cost of prescription drugs in the U.S. has been a longstanding issue, with past administrations hesitant to challenge the powerful pharmaceutical industry. However, Biden and Sanders have taken significant steps to confront this problem head-on. Through the Inflation Reduction Act, they have achieved key reforms, including a price ceiling of $35 per month for insulin for seniors and an annual cap of $2,000 on prescription drug costs for seniors starting in 2025. Medicare now also has the authority to negotiate drug prices, a practice common in other countries.

Despite these achievements, Biden and Sanders emphasized that much more needs to be done. They highlighted the specific cases of Novo Nordisk’s drugs, Ozempic and Wegovy, which are used to treat Type 2 diabetes and obesity. These drugs are up to six times more expensive in the U.S. compared to other countries. In 2023, Novo Nordisk made over $12 billion in profits, partly by charging Americans over $1,000 a month for a drug that can be manufactured for less than $5.

Sanders, as chair of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, has been a vocal critic of Big Pharma’s pricing practices. He has grilled pharmaceutical executives in hearings and published reports on the profiteering of companies that charge high prices for drugs developed with public funding. Sanders has also launched investigations into the pricing of drugs like Ozempic and Wegovy and secured agreements for pharmaceutical CEOs to testify before the committee.

Consumer rights groups have praised the strong stance taken by Biden and Sanders. Robert Weissman, president of Public Citizen, stated, “For decades, presidential administrations on a bipartisan basis have been intimidated and deterred from challenging Big Pharma’s monopoly power. Today, however, President Biden and Sen. Bernie Sanders call Big Pharma’s bullying bluff.”

The economic implications of high drug prices are significant. Biden and Sanders warned that the cost of obesity and diabetes medications could bankrupt the U.S. healthcare system if prices are not reduced. They cited a study showing that if half of adults with obesity took drugs like Wegovy, it could cost $411 billion per year, surpassing the total spent on all prescription drugs at pharmacy counters in 2022.

Biden reinforced the joint message through his social media channels, stating, “If Big Pharma refuses to lower prescription drug prices and end their greed, we will do everything within our power to end it for them. Bernie Sanders and I will not rest until every American can afford the prescriptions they need to lead healthy, happy, and productive lives.”

This cooperation between Biden and Sanders, particularly on such a critical issue, comes at a time when Biden needs to rally his base and secure support from progressives. While Biden has faced criticism from some progressives on various issues, this collaboration with Sanders showcases his commitment to tackling corporate greed and making healthcare more affordable.

“We will not allow that to happen,” Biden and Sanders wrote. “As Americans, we must not rest until every person in our country can afford the prescription drugs they need to lead healthy, happy, and productive lives.”


If you liked this article, please donate $5 to keep NationofChange online through November.

Previous articleTrusting the ‘five eyes’ only
Next articleNader urges judge to imprison Trump, citing grave threat to democracy
Alexandra Jacobo is a dedicated progressive writer, activist, and mother with a deep-rooted passion for social justice and political engagement. Her journey into political activism began in 2011 at Zuccotti Park, where she supported the Occupy movement by distributing blankets to occupiers, marking the start of her earnest commitment to progressive causes. Driven by a desire to educate and inspire, Alexandra focuses her writing on a range of progressive issues, aiming to foster positive change both domestically and internationally. Her work is characterized by a strong commitment to community empowerment and a belief in the power of informed public action. As a mother, Alexandra brings a unique and personal perspective to her activism, understanding the importance of shaping a better world for future generations. Her writing not only highlights the challenges we face but also champions the potential for collective action to create a more equitable and sustainable world.