Legislation introduced on Tuesday would reduce Medicare prescription drug costs, protect seniors and lower the deficit. Sen. Bernie Sanders is a cosponsor of Sen. Jay Rockefeller’s bill that would eliminate a special deal for brand-name drug manufacturers that allows them to charge Medicare higher prices for prescription drugs for some seniors and people with disabilities. The bill would require drug companies to provide rebates to the federal government on drugs used by people eligible for both Medicare and Medicaid, mainly low-income seniors and people with disabilities.
Under the legislation, Medicare would be allowed to negotiate better drug prices for certain low-income beneficiaries.
While correcting overpayments to drug companies, the bill would save taxpayers and the federal government from footing the unnecessary cost to the high-profit pharmaceutical industry. Over the past 10 years, the 11 largest drug companies alone took in $711.4 billion in profits, including a 62 percent increase from 2003 to 2012. Allowing negotiations for better prices would result in savings for taxpayers amounting to $141.2 billion over 10 years, according to the Congressional Budget Office.