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Sanders vows to cut prescription prices in half if elected president

Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersDeVos knocks free college push as 'socialist takeover of higher education' The Hill's 12:30 Report — Presented by Capital One — Giuliani denies discussing preemptive pardon with Trump Manchin: Ocasio-Cortez 'more active on Twitter than anything else' MORE (I-Vt.) vowed Sunday to cut prescription drug prices in half if elected president in 2020.

"It is absurd that Americans are forced to pay, by far, the highest prices in the world for prescription drugs while the top 5 drug companies made over $50 billion in profits last year," he said on CBS's "Face the Nation."

"We have a national health emergency when one out of five Americans cannot afford to purchase the medicine their doctors prescribe. Whether the drug companies like it or not, that is a situation which must end, and end soon."

Sanders, who declared his 2020 candidacy in February, has aggressively targeted lowering prescription drug prices.

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In January, joined by several Democratic lawmakers, the Vermont senator introduced a sweeping set of bills to tackle high prices.

The bills would allow importation of cheaper drugs from Canada, allow Medicare to negotiate drug prices and strip monopolies from drug companies if their prices were above the average price in other wealthy countries.

Although legislation like those bills is unlikely to be approved by a Republican-controlled Senate, several 2020 Democratic nominees have joined in on rolling out plans to lower prescription costs.

Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenOn The Money: McConnell offering new coronavirus relief bill | Biden introduces economic team, vows swift action on relief | Rare Mnuchin-Powell spat takes center stage at COVID-19 hearing Biden introduces economic team, vows swift action on struggling economy Louisville mayor declares racism a public health crisis MORE (D-Mass.), for example, introduced a bill late last year to let the government manufacture certain drugs and sell them at lower prices if there is not enough competition.

Sen. Cory BookerCory BookerBiden budget pick sparks battle with GOP Senate Policy center calls for new lawmakers to make diverse hires Dangerously fast slaughter speeds are putting animals, people at greater risk during COVID-19 crisis MORE (D-N.J.) recently introduced a bill to increase transparency requirements around drug company payments to people with influence over deciding which drugs Medicaid covers.

Sanders also made fighting pharmaceutical companies a central theme of his ultimately failed 2016 presidential campaign.