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Sanders Tackles Drug Pricing (Again), This Time With Help From 'Big-Pharma Dems'


#1

Sanders Tackles Drug Pricing (Again), This Time With Help From 'Big-Pharma Dems'

Deirdre Fulton, staff writer

Aiming to lower the "outrageous" cost of prescription drugs, a group of lawmakers led by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) on Tuesday introduced legislation that would allow Americans to import low-cost medicine from Canada.


#2

The answer is not allowing the importation of foreign drugs.

The answer is permanent governmental price controls.


#3

Remove all patents from drugs. Big Pharma needs to be put on a diet: they need to revert back to simply being manufacturing plants and not be allowed to buy/hold any patents on drugs. Period.


#4

While I agree with both of the above comments, the likelihood they could be achieved in a reasonable time frame is beyond remote. I will be delighted if we can get this one through.


#5

Yes indeed,like every other country


#6

The proposed system would screw up Canadas system so bad it would not be funny. It would mean higher prices for them or at least drug shortages. Unintended consequences. Sanders has turned


#7

Big-Pharma owns the US government -- so what else is new.

Does it not sound a little stupid to be importing drugs from another country while the exact same drug is sitting on a pharmacy shelf half a block from home? The real question that needs to be answered is when did the POTUS and Congress become wholly-owned subsidiaries of Big-Pharma and Big Insurance.


#8

No. People in my group of acquaintances have been going to Canada to buy drugs for decades. Too bad for the Red States, though. They have to rely on Florida's pill mills and crooked doctors and pharmacists for real pain relief. On the plus side, Canadians are nicer than a lot of Americans. So, there's that, too.


#9

Memo to David Dayen:

The supply chain will adjust: much you and others would adjust if you didn't have your twitter feed to bark out nonsense on.


#10

I know we are all dedicated to the myth that Bernie submitted a bill doing "x" last time, but that is not what happened. He submitted instructions to the Chair that would have permitted him, with almost no strings attached, to negotiate with his Republican friends on the issue of drug imports, specifically to move money around to do something along those lines, during reconciliation conference. There was nothing that promised anything in the amendment other than you'd need a prescription for drugs. It was a crappy amendment (SA 178) and it's sad progressives got suckered into believing things about it that it did not do.

I said at the time, if Bernie were serious, he'd produce actual legislation. Now he has a bill and all of you can see the difference between a real legislative proposal and a talking point. It's not numbered yet, but here's a link to it:

http://www.sanders.senate.gov/download/drug-importation-bill?inline=file

The key now is if it will get the Republican co-sponsors the "phony" drug importation budget amendment got. I suspect Ted Cruz went for the budget amendment because it gave the Chair an open field to do whatever he, and his Republican conferees, wanted. If they are serious, now they have an opportunity to sign onto real legislation. We'll see.

Oh, and for the crappy amendment that everyone loaded their pants over, scroll down to SA 178 in the link:

https://www.congress.gov/amendment/115th-congress/senate-amendment/178


#11

Absolutely. All the legacies of human development should be the shared treasure of all humanity, not the private hoard of profiteers.

On a related note, it is horrific that the patenting of life has been allowed. Take the profit out of GMOs and allow their development for human purposes, not to serve the looting class.


#12

oh, the political heaven that is being a legislative minority. You can propose all sorts of stuff knowing there's not a single chance in Hades that anything will ever pass. Mr. Booker knows this, of course, and I'm sure his patrons won't mind him grandstanding a little to get back into the good graces of his constituency. It's not like anything's going to actually become law, right?

It'll be fun watching the rank and file loyalists fall all over themselves to point to this as "proof" that Democrats care about the little people.

But in the next cycle, sure as the sun rises, Booker's coffers will once again be filled by these same pharma giants. As they always have been.


#13

Rather than the police busting heads of nonviolent protesters who are just trying to make the country more fair, why not turn them loose busting the heads of parasitical drug company CEOs who are killing people, tearing apart families, and bankrupting Medicare and Social Security?


#14

My DINO senator voted against importing drugs. Just can't tear himself away from that yummy money.


#15

"...opening up an even more contentious fight over whether the U.S. government should meddle directly in pricing"

As long as the US government is one of the principal payers of said raising drug prices...you're damn right it should "meddle"!
Where on earth do bulk purchases not get buyers a better deal? And then there's that pesky little fact that Congress has passed a regulation that specifically prohibits the government from using its massive drug purchases as a means of lowering the prices, which points to exactly what the problem here is: a corrupt congress that has been bought and paid for.


#16

Hi. I wish it was that simple. Big Pharma controls the non patent markets and generic markets. If you hadn't noticed, the prices of generics (supposed to be dirt cheap) have sky rocketed over past year or two. Some of this is due to not pushing for higher premiums , and instead putting generics in a higher preferred level (costlier) and setting a 'coinsurance' pay of sometimes 50%, instead of the small set copay usually associated with generics. The insurance pays half and you pay half out of pocket. Also Big Pharma will pay a generic production company a large amount of money to not produce the generic drug equivalent for several years even though a drug patent is expiring. So they can continue to charge high brand name prices. Some generics licenses are bought by hedge funds and immediately raise the drug prices hundreds of percent. Some cheap generics undergo a minor change such as their delivery system and suddenly become higher priced brand name drugs with renewed brand patent for 20 plus years. All allowed by our paid off congress jerks. The fix was evident when Medicare part D prescription plan was set up and government agreed not to pursue drug price controls.
And the jabber about Obamacare taking money away from Medicare is mostly about cutting back on subsidies given to insurance companies for every person they enroll in Part C Medicare- the part managed by private insurance companies. Even congress refused to use Obamacare as their personal insurance until Obama agreed to their request for a 30% reduction in their out of pocket payments.
The rich get richer and the poor poorer. Totally disgusting and unethical.
Cheaper drug prices have been negotiated by our military and other governments. The majority of USAns pay higher fees. Buying drugs from Canada at much cheaper costs was banned by our government after Big Pharma blew its gasket. Under the guise that these meds from Canada do not undergo FDA scrutiny. But most are from same companies we have here in states. That was a blow to many border states where governors had ok'd buying Canadian meds to help bring down Medicaid drug costs. That is what Sanders et al are trying to get approval for, not to ban these transactions. Good luck.


#17

I think you have completely missed the point of Sanders original proposal and how politics actually works in Washington. It's tactical and Sanders approach has been effective; he flipped he people he needed to flip (Booker) and with the Republicans shooting themselves in the foot over the ACA, he might achieve a rare legislative win. I still don't think it will pass but he has a chance which is miles ahead of any other useless thing the democrats have done in the last 6 months. The whole point of the original bill was to rally the masses as he knew full well the resistance it would received. He used his bully pulpit.

Again, the question you have to ask yourself is why sellouts like Booker came to the table in the first place. It's because people like Bernie made it an issue (the actual legislation is meaningless) and mobilized progressives to brow beat the corporate sellout wing of the democratic party into submission. From what I've heard from colleagues in Washington is the heat has been intense on these clowns and that is why they have flipped. They fear Sanders as they can't hide anymore from the progressive wing. Sort of explains why the corporate sellout wing are currently trying to trim Sander's wings.

Bernie knew exactly what he was doing and this is how you play to win. The legislative process isn't some sort of campfire sing-song particular in times when democrats and Republicans are more than willing to sell you down the river for a bit of pocket change. Keep the heat on these clowns and don't let them rest for a second.


#18

You might want to give this a read:


#19

I grant you that, but realize what you are saying: Bernie and the progressive press we're willing to lie about a budget amendment that did not do what they claimed to get to a bill. There's no missing it now and all those commenters here who believed the amendment did something it did not now have to admit they were fooled by sites like Counterpunch. That was my point a month ago when I actually posted the amendment--that progressive news sites, more often than not, were misinforming people, sometimes with intent, about what SA 178 did.

Also, you might be wrong too. It may be Bernie retooled his legislative strategy after Booker and his caucus members got angry with him for instigating a smear campaign. That's just as likely. After all, SA 178 could've--likely would've--resulted in an even worse situation once the Republican conference committee got done with it. But at least we can now all agree that SA 178 was a garbage amendment, right?


#20

Also in the South West, U.S. of A., people have been going to Mexico to buy their Pharma Drugs for decades. Also on the plus side, Mexican People are nicer than a lot of Americans. So, there's that, too also.