BURLINGTON, Vt., Sept. 15 – Senate Budget Committee Chairman Bernie Sanders Wednesday issued the following statement after the Energy and Commerce Committee in the House of Representatives failed to include a critical provision allowing Medicare to negotiate drug prices during a markup of reconciliation legislation:
“I am very disappointed in the 29-29 vote on prescription drugs that was taken today by the House Energy and Commerce Committee. I understand 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.
“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. Year after year, the pharmaceutical industry makes extraordinary profits and provides their CEOs with obscenely high compensation packages. Meanwhile, one out of five Americans cannot afford the prescriptions their doctors write, and thousands die each year because they lack the money to buy the medicine they need.
“The pharmaceutical industry has spent over $4.5 billion on lobbying and campaign contributions over the past 20 years and has hired some 1,200 lobbyists to get Congress to do its bidding. They are the most powerful industry on Capitol Hill. Nonetheless, the American people are demanding that Congress stand up to them and finally lower the outrageous price of prescription drugs by requiring Medicare to negotiate with the pharmaceutical industry. Now is the time for Congress to show courage and stand up to the greed of the pharmaceutical industry. The American people will not accept surrender.”