Senate Dems, Sanders ask Trump to help lower drug prices

Senate Democrats are urging Donald Trump to work with Congress to help lower drug prices. 

Fifteen Democratic senators, as well as Independent Sens. Angus KingAngus Stanley KingOvernight Defense: Highlights from Defense pick's confirmation hearing | Esper spars with Warren over ethics | Sidesteps questions on Mattis vs. Trump | Trump says he won't sell F-35s to Turkey Five things to watch for at Defense nominee's confirmation hearing Congress mobilizes on cyber threats to electric grid MORE (Maine) and Bernie SandersBernie SandersSanders to call on 2020 Democrats to reject money from drug, health insurance industries The hidden connection between immigration and health care: Our long-term care crisis Harris tops Biden in California 2020 poll MORE (Vt.), sent a letter to the president-elect on Tuesday arguing he should follow up on his campaign pledge to try to bring down the cost of prescription drugs. 

"You now have the authority to push for a future that prioritizes patients," the senators wrote in the letter. "We are ready to advance measures to achieve this goal and we urge you to partner with Republicans and Democrats alike to take meaningful steps to address the high cost of prescription drugs through bold administrative and legislative actions."

The Democrats add in the letter—which was spearheaded by Sens. Sherrod BrownSherrod Campbell BrownThe Hill's Morning Report - A raucous debate on race ends with Trump admonishment On The Money: Senators unload on Facebook cryptocurrency | Tech giants on defensive at antitrust hearing | Democrats ask Labor Department to investigate Amazon warehouses Hillicon Valley: Senators unload on Facebook cryptocurrency plan | Trump vows to 'take a look' at Google's ties to China | Google denies working with China's military | Tech execs on defensive at antitrust hearing | Bill would bar business with Huawei MORE (Ohio) and Al FrankenAlan (Al) Stuart FrankenAl Franken: It's time to start taking Trump 'literally' The Hill's 12:30 Report: Mexican officials scramble to avoid Trump tariffs The Hill's Morning Report - Tariff battle looms as Trump jabs 'foolish' Senate GOP MORE (Minn.)—that Americans are struggling to afford medication and frequently have to "choose between paying for prescription drugs and other necessities, like food and shelter." 

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Democrats outlined five areas where they are willing to work with Trump, including helping give the Secretary of Health and Human Services the ability to negotiate drug prices.

"Under current law, the Secretary is prohibited from doing so. We urge you to work with Congress to pass a law that lifts the current ban and gives the Secretary the authority to take immediate action and negotiate better prices for prescription drugs for our nation’s more than 40 million Medicare Part D beneficiaries," the senators wrote. 

Trump criticized high drug prices during the campaign, including saying 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 at the time. "Why? Because of the drug companies." 

Sanders tried to amend a bipartisan medical innovation bill earlier this month to include a provision allowing for drug prices to be negotiated, but he was blocked by Sen. Roy BluntRoy Dean BluntGOP put on the back foot by Trump's race storm Top Democrat demands answers on election equipment vulnerabilities Rising number of GOP lawmakers criticize Trump remarks about minority Dems MORE. The Missouri Republican argued that it could sink passage of the 21st Century Cures Act. 

Democrats are calling on Trump to "increase transparency" by allowing patients to know a drug's "true cost," including tax credits the company receives and the amount of money spent on research and development. 

They also want to Trump to help stop "abusive" price hikes on prescription drugs, help use taxpayer money to research "affordable and effective drugs," and "ensure true competition." 

"It is past time to end the rigging of the prescription drug marketplace," the Democrats wrote. "We urge you to task the Federal Trade Commission and the Department of Justice with aggressively enforcing laws that currently exist and push for new provisions to ensure timely entrance of generics to the marketplace."

In addition to Brown and Franken, Democratic Sens. Patrick LeahyPatrick Joseph LeahyLawmakers pay tribute to late Justice Stevens Trump administration denies temporary immigrant status to Venezuelans in US Epstein charges show Congress must act to protect children from abuse MORE (Vt.), Dick DurbinRichard (Dick) Joseph DurbinRepublicans scramble to contain Trump fallout Trump administration denies temporary immigrant status to Venezuelans in US McConnell says Trump is not a racist, but calls for better rhetoric MORE (Ill.), Jack ReedJohn (Jack) Francis ReedTrump's pick to lead Pentagon glides through confirmation hearing Trump says US will not sell Turkey F-35s after Russian missile defense system purchase Pentagon chief nominee: 'We need to get back on the diplomatic channel' with Iran MORE (R.I.), Debbie StabenowDeborah (Debbie) Ann StabenowGOP Senate challenger in Michigan raises .5 million in less than a month It's time to let Medicare to negotiate drug prices Trump judicial nominee says he withdrew over 'gross mischaracterizations' of record MORE (Mich.), Amy KlobucharAmy Jean KlobucharKlobuchar fundraises for McConnell challenger: 'Two Amys are better than one' The Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump digs in ahead of House vote to condemn tweet The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by JUUL Labs - House to vote to condemn Trump tweet MORE (Minn.), Sheldon WhitehouseSheldon WhitehouseOvernight Energy: Scientists flee USDA as research agencies move to Kansas City area | Watchdog finds EPA skirted rules to put industry reps on boards | New rule to limit ability to appeal pollution permits Dem senators demand GOP judicial group discloses donors Senate Democrats skipping Pence's border trip MORE (R.I.), Tom UdallThomas (Tom) Stewart UdallHouse passes bill to crack down on toxic 'forever chemicals' Overnight Energy: Trump threatens veto on defense bill that targets 'forever chemicals' | Republicans form conservation caucus | Pressure mounts against EPA's new FOIA rule Trump threatens veto on defense bill that targets 'forever chemicals' MORE (N.M), Jeanne ShaheenCynthia (Jeanne) Jeanne ShaheenEpstein charges show Congress must act to protect children from abuse House Dems, Senate GOP build money edge to protect majorities Crucial for Congress to fund life-saving diabetes research MORE (N.H.), Jeff MerkleyJeffrey (Jeff) Alan MerkleySenate Democrat releasing book on Trump admin's treatment of migrants at border Sunday shows - Amash, immigration dominate Merkley on delaying endorsement: 'We have a different set of cards this time' MORE (Ore.), Kirsten GillibrandKirsten Elizabeth GillibrandThe Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump digs in ahead of House vote to condemn tweet 'Game of Thrones' scores record-breaking 32 Emmy nominations The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by JUUL Labs - House to vote to condemn Trump tweet MORE (N.Y), Richard Blumenthal (Conn.), Tammy BaldwinTammy Suzanne BaldwinThe Hill's Morning Report - A raucous debate on race ends with Trump admonishment Overnight Health Care — Presented by PCMA — Planned Parenthood ousts its president | Harris releases drug pricing plan | House Dem drug plan delayed until after recess Health care needs transparency, and President Trump is making progress MORE (Wis.), Tim KaineTimothy (Tim) Michael KaineTrump's pick to lead Pentagon glides through confirmation hearing Acosta defends Epstein deal, bucking calls for resignation Republican lawmakers on why they haven't read Mueller report: 'Tedious' and 'what's the point?' MORE (Va.), Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenHarris tops Biden in California 2020 poll The Hill's Morning Report - A raucous debate on race ends with Trump admonishment Democrats fret over Trump cash machine MORE (Mass.), Ed MarkeyEdward (Ed) John MarkeyHillicon Valley: Senators unload on Facebook cryptocurrency plan | Trump vows to 'take a look' at Google's ties to China | Google denies working with China's military | Tech execs on defensive at antitrust hearing | Bill would bar business with Huawei Senators press FTC over 'woefully inadequate' Facebook settlement Head of miners union calls Green New Deal's main goal 'almost impossible' MORE (Mass.), Sanders and King signed the letter.