Sen. Bernie Sanders was torching the Twitter lines in a big way over being fed up with pharmaceutical price hikes, especially over the past month or so. Once the debris is cleared over the Democratic mess following Donald Trump’s surprise victory, Sanders is likely to raise the heat, I’m sure. Will Trump join in?
Yes, Sanders has been on a rampage, decrying drug costs and Big Pharma, but there’s been more than talk: he’s also been seeking investigations into reasons behind some of these price hikes, such as the cost for insulin medication Humalog, which has increased nearly 700% since 1996 (adjusted for inflation). Last week, for instance, the Vermont Senator and Rep. Elijah Cummings of Maryland sent a letter to the Justice Department and the Federal Trade Commission to “investigate potential collusion among pharmaceutical companies that manufacture diabetes products.”
“Why has the price of Humalog insulin gone up 700% in 20 years,” Sanders said on Twitter. “It’s simple. The drug industry’s greed.”
In another tweet on drug pricing, he wrote: “The business model of the drug industry is a fraud.”
And another, “9 out of 10 Americans blame the pharmaceutical industry for the high cost of healthcare,” Sanders said. “It’s time to end their greed and lower drug prices.”
How does the Sanders drum-beating sound to Trump? Trump hasn’t been shy about the pharmaceutical industry, but has not specifically complained about specific companies for over-pricing. In a STAT article “Say what you will about Donald Trump. He’s right about drug companies,” a Trump supporter physician said that Trump was “honestly and forthrightly calling Big Pharma on its Big Baloney.”
But John LaMattina in Forbes noted he wouldn’t be surprised to see legislation that allows Medicare to negotiate drug prices, but “if anything the group NOT likely to support such legislation would be Republicans and not Democrats.”
When it comes to drug prices, Sanders is all over it. He’s referred to news articles and reports about outrageous drug prices, and he’s jumped on them, including a comparison of U.S. drug costs and those in Europe.
“It makes no sense that the same drug that costs $70 in France costs $450 in the U.S.,” he said. “We should reduce barriers to importation of drugs.” Trump also has discussed allower less expensive drugs made abroad to be sold in the U.S.
“Americans shouldn’t pay higher prices than Canadians for the same drugs simply because Congress is bought by the pharmaceutical industry,” he said.
In August, Sanders also blasted the pharmaceutical company Mylan, referring to its generic EpiPen that costs three times more than it cost in 2007. He also stepped that argument last month when Reuters reported that EpiPen price increases added millions of dollars to Pentagon expenses.
“The greed of Mylan and the entire pharmaceutical industry is out of control.”