Sanders: GOP Blocked ‘Trump Proposal’ to Lower Drug Prices
Bernie Sanders lashed out at the GOP on Tuesday after they blocked his bill to lower drug prices.
The Hill reports:
The Independent Vermont senator tried to get unanimous consent to amend the 21st Century Cures Act, which is expected to pass the Senate on Wednesday, to allow the importing of prescription drugs from other countries and for Medicare to negotiate drug prices.
He linked his amendment to President-elect Donald Trump’s comments on the campaign trail about prescription drug prices.
“During this campaign … Trump promised among other things to lower the prices of prescription drugs,” Sanders said from the Senate floor.
“I am quite confident that all of my Republican colleagues will support an amendment in my hands that will do exactly what Trump said he would accomplish as president,” he added.
But Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), a member of GOP leadership, blocked the former Democratic presidential candidate’s move, arguing it would threaten the passage of the medical cures legislation.
“The sure way for this bill not to pass in this Congress is to do something that changes the subject,” he said.
He added that he was “particularly glad” to see Sanders agree with a Trump campaign pledge.
Trump criticized high drug prices during the campaign, backing allowing individuals to import them from other countries if they were cheaper.
He also said in New Hampshire that Medicare could save $300 billion a year on prescription drugs if it negotiated prices.
“We don’t do it,” he said. “Why? Because of the drug companies.”
The Cures bill overcame a procedural hurdle on Monday evening, with senators voting 85-13 to end debate.
The legislation aims to speed up the Food and Drug Administration’s approval of new drugs, while giving new money to medical research.
But it has come under fire from liberal Democrats, including Sanders and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), who both voted against ending debate on Monday.
Liberals argue the bill is a giveaway to pharmaceutical companies without also lowering high drug prices.
“The debate we are having on this bill is simple, and that is, do we continue to cave in to the demands of the pharmaceutical industry … or do we have the courage to stand up to the CEO’s of big drug companies?” Sanders asked from the floor.
Photo credit: Marc Nozell/Flickr.