Sanders Stands Up to Drug Companies

Senator Bernie Sanders voted against a Food and Drug Administration bill that failed to legalize the importation of lower-priced drugs from Canada and other countries. He told The New York Times he was "extremely disappointed" that the bill did not legalize imports. The bill also fails to curtail advertising that drives up drug spending, and paves the way for the FDA to block state laws, like one in Vermont, permitting the use of marijuana for medical purposes. "Safe drugs are obviously importa

Senator Bernie Sanders voted against a Food and Drug Administration bill that failed to legalize the importation of lower-priced drugs from Canada and other countries. He told The New York Times he was "extremely disappointed" that the bill did not legalize imports. The bill also fails to curtail advertising that drives up drug spending, and paves the way for the FDA to block state laws, like one in Vermont, permitting the use of marijuana for medical purposes. "Safe drugs are obviously important, and there are a lot of good provisions in this bill," Sanders told the Washington Post. "But a safe drug doesn't mean anything to somebody who can't afford it." Dr. Sidney M. Wolfe, director of Public Citizen's Health Research Group, a consumer organization, said: "The bill's improvements in F.D.A. authority are important but inadequate," according to the Times article. "Billy Tauzin, president of the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, the main trade group for manufacturers of brand name drugs, applauded the passage, of the bill, saying it 'will preserve and even strengthen the F.D.A.'s ability to do its job.' " Sanders was the lone senator to stand up to the powerful prescription drug lobby. The pharmaceutical industry used its army of lobbyists to gut the importation provision that Sanders has fought for since he first took a group of Vermonters to Canada to buy low-cost, FDA-approved medicine. "We took a busload of Vermonters, mostly woman, many of them struggling with breast cancer, and we went from St. Albans to Montreal. I will never forget the look on the faces of those women who were struggling for their lives, when they bought breast cancer medicine at 10 percent of the cost that they were paying in the State of Vermont. The drug was tamoxifen, a widely prescribed drug for those people struggling with breast cancer," Sanders said. "How do you have a drug manufactured by a company, manufactured in the same factory, put in the same bottles, sold in Canada for one-tenth of the price that that same medicine is sold in the United States of America? How can that happen? ," Sanders asked. Read the Washington Post article here https://www.sanders.senate.gov/news/record.cfm?id=273963 Read The New York Times article here https://www.sanders.senate.gov/news/record.cfm?id=273966