WASHINGTON, Dec. 1 – On World AIDS Day, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) condemned price gouging by pharmaceutical companies on lifesaving drugs to treat the disease.
“The biggest problem in caring for those with AIDS is no longer mainly a medical or scientific problem – the crisis is access to affordable drugs,” Sanders said. “People are dying in America because they can't afford to pay the outrageous prices for medicine they need to live. In the richest nation in the world, we must do everything possible to get people the medicine they need at a price they can afford.”
Last year, one in five Americans – 35 million people – were unable to afford to fill their prescriptions. The price of Daraprim, a drug taken by AIDS patients, was recently increased 5,000 percent overnight.
Sanders and Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) have introduced comprehensive legislation to lower the skyrocketing cost of prescription drugs. Their bills would authorize the secretary of Health and Human Services to negotiate drug prices with pharmaceutical companies and reduce barriers to the importation of lower-cost drugs from Canada and other countries. Sanders and Cummings have also conducted a year-long investigation into rising prices.
“The United States is the only major country on earth that does not in one form or another regulate prescription drug prices and the results have been an unmitigated disaster,” Sanders said. “We must take on the pharmaceutical industry that has been ripping off the American people and pass legislation to lower the cost of lifesaving drugs.”