Sanders: Will Trump Really Take on Pharmaceutical Industry? I Hope So

WASHINGTON, Jan. 31 – Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) said Tuesday he will soon introduce legislation to lower prescription drug prices and hoped that President Donald Trump would support the effort.

Sanders and Rep. Elijah E. Cummings (D-Md.) are drafting legislation to significantly bring down drug prices in the United States.

While five major drug manufacturers made more than $50 billion in profits in 2015, nearly 1 in 5 Americans could not afford the medicine they were prescribed at a time when Americans pay, by far, the highest prices in the world for prescription medicine. “It is beyond comprehension that while Americans are dying because they cannot afford the medications they need, the 10 highest-paid CEOs in the pharmaceutical industry collectively made $327 million in 2015,” Sanders said.

“I look forward to working with President Trump on this issue if he is serious about standing up to the pharmaceutical industry and reducing drug prices,” Sanders said after Trump met with chief executives of several top drugmakers at the White House Tuesday.

The Sanders and Cummings proposal would allow Medicare, the health care program for seniors and people with disabilities, to negotiate with drugmakers for lower prices. “The root of this problem is that we are the only major country not to negotiate drug prices with the pharmaceutical industry. You can walk into a pharmacy today and the price could be double or even three times what you paid for the same medicine a year ago,” Sanders said.

Their legislation also would allow the importation of less expensive but safe and affordable drugs from other countries. The allergy treatment EpiPen, for example, costs $638 in the U.S. compared to $293 in Canada. A popular drug for high cholesterol, Crestor, costs $779 in the U.S. but $201 in Canada. Abilify, a depression medication, costs $2,852 for a 90-day supply in the U.S. but only $546 in Canada.