Buttigieg unveils aggressive plan to lower drug prices

Buttigieg unveils aggressive plan to lower drug prices
© Greg Nash

Democratic presidential candidate Pete ButtigiegPeter (Pete) Paul ButtigiegDes Moines Register endorses Elizabeth Warren as Democratic presidential nominee Candidates weighing using private jets to get to Iowa Biden nabs endorsement from Iowa Democrat in swing district MORE on Monday unveiled a far-reaching plan to lower the cost of prescription drugs, the latest tough proposal from the party's 2020 hopefuls.

Buttigieg would allow both Medicare and the new public option plan he would create to negotiate lower prices for prescription drugs, and those lower prices would be available to people with private insurance too. 

The South Bend, Ind., mayor would cap out-of-pocket drug costs in Medicare at $200 per month and force drug companies to pay rebates back if their prices rose faster than inflation. 

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For the “worst offender” companies, he would exercise rarely used authority under current law to strip firms of their patents if they were not offering a drug at a reasonable price. 

Buttigieg, who is behind the top tier of candidates in the polls, tied his plan to his argument for installing a younger generation of leaders such as himself. 

“It’s time for a new era of leadership in Washington who will finally make drugs affordable and take on pharmaceutical companies,” he said. 

Lowering drug prices is a top priority for voters and an idea that President TrumpDonald John TrumpKaine: Obama called Trump a 'fascist' during 2016 campaign Kaine: GOP senators should 'at least' treat Trump trial with seriousness of traffic court Louise Linton, wife of Mnuchin, deletes Instagram post in support of Greta Thunberg MORE has embraced as well, though he has yet to take major action. That has led Democratic candidates to come out with a variety of aggressive plans.  

Bold plans to crack down on pharmaceutical companies has been a theme in the Democratic primary, with tough plans both from the more moderate side and from leading progressives. 

Former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenDes Moines Register endorses Elizabeth Warren as Democratic presidential nominee Sanders faces lingering questions about appeal to women voters George Conway: Witness missing from impeachment trial is Trump MORE, for example, also has a tough plan that would set up an independent review board to set a reasonable price for new drugs, among other steps. 

Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenDes Moines Register endorses Elizabeth Warren as Democratic presidential nominee Sanders faces lingering questions about appeal to women voters Sunday shows preview: Lawmakers prepare for week two of impeachment trial MORE (D-Mass.) would allow the government to manufacture lower-cost generic drugs itself, while Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersKaine: Obama called Trump a 'fascist' during 2016 campaign Des Moines Register endorses Elizabeth Warren as Democratic presidential nominee Sanders faces lingering questions about appeal to women voters MORE (I-Vt.) would tie drug prices to lower prices paid in other countries. 

The "Medicare for All" plan backed by Warren and Sanders would also give the government much more power in setting lower prices for drugs.