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FOCUS | Bernie Sanders: If Elected President, I Will Cut Prescription Drug Prices in Half
Written by <a href="index.php?option=com_comprofiler&task=userProfile&user=38626"><span class="small">Tim Hains, RealClearPolitics</span></a>   
Wednesday, 03 April 2019 11:19

Hains writes: "In an interview on Sunday's 'Face The Nation,' Sen. Bernie Sanders vowed that if he becomes president, he will cut prescription drug prices in half."

Bernie Sanders. (photo: Jewel Samad/Getty Images)
Bernie Sanders. (photo: Jewel Samad/Getty Images)


Bernie Sanders: If Elected President, I Will Cut Prescription Drug Prices in Half

By Tim Hains, RealClearPolitics

03 April 19

 

n an interview on Sunday's "Face The Nation," Sen. Bernie Sanders vowed that if he becomes president, he will cut prescription drug prices in half.

"Let me make a campaign promise to you and you can repeat this, play this tape over if I'm elected president," Sanders said. "And that is, if I am elected president I'm going to cut prescription drug costs in this country by 50 percent so that we are not paying any more than other major countries are paying."

"The five major [pharmaceutical] companies made 50 billion dollars in profits last year," Sanders said. "They pay their CEOs outrageous compensation packages. If they don't like that, then we'll take a look at their patents."

MARGARET BRENNAN: I want to get to the issue of health care. The president this week said he wants the courts to strike down Obamacare, the Affordable Care Act. But to be fair senator, you want to replace Obamacare, too. You want to replace it with Medicare for all, this government run, government financed program.

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS: Right.

MARGARET BRENNAN: So if the courts strike down the ACA does that ultimately help you?

SEN. SANDERS: No. No- look, yes Trump has an idea on health care. His idea is to throw 32 million Americans off of the health insurance they have, doing away with insurance for kids who are 26 years of age or younger who are on their parent's plans, doing away with the protections that the ACA has for pre-existing conditions, Margaret. That means if you have cancer, you have heart disease, you have diabetes. If Trump gets his way the cost of health insurance for you will be so high that many people literally will not be able to afford it. Thousands of people will literally die. That's Trump's health insurance plan. My plan's just a little bit different. I think we should join the rest of the industrialized world. Guarantee health care to all people as a right. End the absurdity of the United States spending twice as much per capita on health care as any other nation while our life expectancy is actually going down and our health care outcomes are worse than many other countries. And by the way, we pay by far the highest prices in the world for prescription drugs.

Let me make a campaign promise to you and you can repeat this, play this tape over if I'm elected president. And that is, if I am elected president I'm going to cut prescription drug costs in this country by 50 percent so that we are not paying any more than other major countries are paying. Maybe we can do better than that.

MARGARET BRENNAN: How are you going to do that?

SEN. SANDERS: Because we will look at the average costs of prescription drugs in Canada, the UK, Germany, Japan and France.

We will look at their average costs which are 50 percent lower than they are in the United States and we will do that. And if the pharmaceutical industry- if the pharmaceutical industry which made 50-- the five major companies made 50 billion dollars in profits last year. They pay their CEOs outrageous compensation packages. If they don't like that then we'll take a look at their patents.

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Last Updated on Wednesday, 03 April 2019 11:21
 

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+5 # Marinski 2019-04-03 15:03
Something seems to have gone haywire with the transcription. I haven't heard Bernie answer a question with a prior answer to a different question before . . .
 
 
+7 # Robbee 2019-04-03 18:04
Bernie Sanders: If Elected President, I Will Cut Prescription Drug Prices in Half

YES! WE WILL!
 
 
0 # ahollman 2019-04-03 23:23
Much as I like Sanders, and am trying to decide between him and Elizabeth Warren (my Senator), his statements did not describe -how- he will cut drug prices by 50%. Yes, other countries' prices are half of ours, but that's a statement, not a fix.

I believe that Congressional legislation specified that for Medicare patients, the government will not negotiate drug prices, but will simply pay what the drug companies specify. That in turn affects non-Medicare prices.

In addition, the end-user price depends on complex, secret negotiations among multiple middlemen, including drug manufacturers, wholesalers, and retailers; the insurance companies; pharmacy benefit managers and (in some cases) hospitals.

Thus, to cut drug prices, Sanders must get Congress to change current law, and must find a way to bypass the multiple middlemen involved.

Patents seem less relevant. Yes, they give a company a fixed monopoly period, during which it can charge what it wants. However, many drugs whose prices have soared are generics, which are by definition off-patent (e.g. insulin).

Perhaps Sanders -could- get Congress to also enact other reforms:
- Prohibiting the following: When a drug patent expires, its holder pays would-be competitors a fee to -not- jump into that market, thus preserving its monopoly.
- "Tweaking" a drug's molecule to make it new and thus good for another high-cost patent period.
- Coming out with new drugs that are -not- much better than what they replace.