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Sanders unveils aggressive new bill targeting drug prices

Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersKlain says Harris would not overrule parliamentarian on minimum wage increase Romney-Cotton, a Cancun cabbie and the minimum wage debate On The Money: Senate panels postpone Tanden meetings in negative sign | Biden signs supply chain order after 'positive' meeting with lawmakers MORE (I-Vt.) and Rep. Ro KhannaRohit (Ro) KhannaDemocrats look to improve outreach to Asian and Latino communities Democrats offer bills to boost IRS audits of rich, corporations Biden's move on Yemen sparks new questions 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 TrumpSenators given no timeline on removal of National Guard, Capitol fence Democratic fury with GOP explodes in House Georgia secretary of state withholds support for 'reactionary' GOP voting bills 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.