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 ButtigiegThe Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by AdvaMed - House panel expected to approve impeachment articles Thursday Warren, Buttigieg duke it out in sprint to 2020 Krystal Ball warns about lagging youth support for Buttigieg 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 TrumpThe Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by AdvaMed - House panel expected to approve impeachment articles Thursday Democrats worried by Jeremy Corbyn's UK rise amid anti-Semitism Warren, Buttigieg duke it out in sprint to 2020 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 BidenThe Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by AdvaMed - House panel expected to approve impeachment articles Thursday Democrats seek leverage for trial Democrats spend big to put Senate in play 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 WarrenThe Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by AdvaMed - House panel expected to approve impeachment articles Thursday Warren, Buttigieg duke it out in sprint to 2020 The Memo: Pelosi-Trump trade deal provokes debate on left MORE (D-Mass.) would allow the government to manufacture lower-cost generic drugs itself, while Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersThe Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by AdvaMed - House panel expected to approve impeachment articles Thursday Warren, Buttigieg duke it out in sprint to 2020 The Memo: Pelosi-Trump trade deal provokes debate on left 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.