Sanders unveils aggressive new bill targeting drug prices

Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersGOP sees debt ceiling as its leverage against Biden Democrats brace for slog on Biden's spending plan To break the corporate tax logjam, tax overinflated CEO pay MORE (I-Vt.) and Rep. Ro KhannaRohit (Ro) KhannaOvernight Energy: Democrats request interview with Exxon lobbyist after undercover tapes | Biden EPA to reconsider Trump rollback on power plant pollution in 2022 | How climate change and human beings influence wildfires Democrats request interview with Exxon lobbyist after undercover tapes Progressive fighting turns personal on internal call over antitrust bills MORE (D-Calif.) on Tuesday unveiled a bill aimed at aggressively lowering drug prices by stripping monopolies from drug companies if their prices are deemed excessive.

Sanders has long railed against drug companies for their prices, and this bill is one of the most far-reaching proposals aimed at lowering them.

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The bill would strip the monopoly from a company, regardless of any patents, and allow other companies to create cheaper generic versions of a drug if the price for that drug is higher than the median price in Canada, the United Kingdom, Germany, France and Japan.

“No other country allows pharmaceutical companies to charge any price they want for any reason they want,” Sanders, who could run for president again in 2020, said in a statement.

The greed of the prescription drug industry is literally killing Americans and it has got to stop,” he added.

Drug companies argue that other countries, with price controls, lack the innovation that happens in the United States.

The bill does not have a clear path forward in the next two years, given that Republicans will still control the Senate.

But the measure shows how far progressives want to go on drug pricing and comes at a time when there is growing momentum for taking some action on the issue, even if it might not be as far-reaching.  

President TrumpDonald TrumpCuban embassy in Paris attacked by gasoline bombs Trump Jr. inches past DeSantis as most popular GOP figure in new poll: Axios Trump endorses Ken Paxton over George P. Bush in Texas attorney general race MORE has also focused on lowering the price of drugs, and Democrats hope to be able to work with him in a bipartisan way.  

Khanna, a progressive who represents Silicon Valley, joins Sanders on the bill.

“Today, we’re sending big pharma a message: Market exclusivity is a privilege, and when you abuse that by price gouging the sick and aging, then you lose that privilege,” Khanna said.