Democrats’ Drug Pricing Plan “Goes Nowhere Near as Far as It Should”

Chairperson of the Senate Budget Committee Bernie Sanders on Tuesday blasted Democrats’ watered-down drug pricing plan and suggested pharmaceutical industry lobbying weakened the proposal.

“It’s a very weak proposal. It goes nowhere near as far as it should,” Sanders (I-Vt.) told NBC News’ Sahil Kapur.

The deal unveiled Medicare would be able to negotiate prices for a limited number prescription drugs earlier in the month. Other provisions include a $2,000 limit on Medicare Part D beneficiaries and an end to brand-name manufacturers preventing generic options from being blocked. Companies that raise prices faster the inflation rate will also be penalized.

The plan is notably backed by Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) — who last year blocked a House-approved budget reconciliation package and said this month that he wouldn’t support new climate spending or tax hikes on the rich and large corporations.

Sanders, who advocated for a comprehensive package last year and has been a leading advocate for Medicare for All, pointed to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs as a model for drug price negotiations.

“The American people want Medicare to negotiate prescription drug prices like the VA does,” the senator said Tuesday, according to The Hill.

“The VA has been doing that for decades. They pay about half the price of Medicare for the same services. This thing will only apply to a certain number of drugs,” Sanders continued, noting that parts of the proposal would not take effect until 2026.

“So it’s a weak proposal. Is it better that nothing? I suppose,” he added of Democrats’ plan.

Sanders also took aim directly at industry lobbying, specifically at the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America. As he put it: “We’re dealing with the power of PhRMA over the Congress. They don’t lose very often.”

As Common Dreams According to reports, Big Pharma is mobilizing an army of lobbyists to tank Democrats’ drug reform plan while hiking Prescription medication prices

“Pharma is spending millions to defeat a very modest drug pricing bill,” Sanders tweeted Friday. “Joe Manchin, who is blocking climate action, is the major recipient of fossil fuel campaign contributions. This is how a corrupt political system works.”