Having Medicare negotiate with drug manufacturers for lower price prescription medications is one idea that will reduce significantly the prices Americans are paying for their medicines. In addition pursuing and prosecuting pharmaceutical industry fraud will be the second punch for the consumer. The third would be Congress banning the practice of brand-name drug-makers paying potential competitors to keep lower-priced generic substitutes off the market. Brand-name drugs cost, on average, 10 times as much as generics.
Prescription prices skyrocketed 12.6 percent last year in the United States, according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. That increase was more than double the rise in overall medical costs.
This three -punch proposal was released today by t Democratic Party presidential candidate Bernie Sanders. He is calling for discussions and debates on the issue by Democratic candidates and Republican candidates.“Americans should not have to live in fear that they will go bankrupt if they get sick. People should not have to go without the medication they need just because their elected officials aren’t willing to challenge the drug and health care industry lobby,” Sanders said. The pharmaceutical industry last year doled out almost $230 million to lobby Congress.
Sanders, a senator from Vermont, said he will introduce legislation to let the Department of Health and Human Services negotiate drug prices with pharmaceutical companies. Using the buying power of the federal government to get better deals on drug prices for taxpayers and seniors on Medicare would dramatically lower the costs.
“Between our government’s unwillingness to negotiate prices and its failure to effectively fight fraud, it’s no wonder drug prices are out of control. We have got to make sure that everyone in this country can afford the prescription drugs that they need to live healthy lives,” Sanders said.
Jeffrey Newman represents whistleblowers