Sanders ‘Disappointed’ in House Panel’s Vote on Drug Prices

By: Lexi Lonas; The Hill

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) said he is “disappointed” with a House panel’s vote on Wednesday to block legislation to lower drug prices. 

“I’m very disappointed in the vote today on prescription drugs by the House Energy and Commerce Committee,” Sanders said on Twitter.

“I get that the pharmaceutical industry owns the Republican Party and that no Republican voted for this bill, but there is no excuse for every Democrat not supporting it,” he added. 

The legislation to allow the secretary of Health and Human Services to negotiate lower drug prices was voted down in the House Energy and Commerce Committee by three moderate Democrats who said it would harm innovation from drug companies. 

Reps. Kurt Schrader (D-Ore.), Scott Peters (D-Calif.) and Kathleen Rice’s (D-N.Y.) votes put them in direct conflict with their party, which has made passing legislation to lower drug prices a primary goal for their $3.5 trillion spending package. 

Schrader highlighted his concerns about the government getting involved in drug prices, saying the legislation would eliminate “jobs and innovation that drives cures for these rare diseases.”

Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Frank Pallone Jr. (D-N.J.) said that a measure to lower drug prices will be included in the final spending bill, adding that negotiations on the provision were expected.  

“The good news is that the full Congress must and will do far better. At a time when the drug companies are charging us by far the highest prices in the world, Congress must demand that Medicare negotiate prices with this extremely greedy and powerful industry,” Sanders said on Twitter.