Sanders Reintroduces Proposal to Slash Medicare Drug Prices in Half

“There isn’t any rational motive, aside from greed, for Medicare to pay twice as a lot” for medicine, Sanders stated.

On Thursday, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) launched a invoice aimed toward chopping the worth of prescribed drugs beneath Medicare in half in one among a collection of actions that the senator is taking over drug costs.

The bill, launched alongside Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minnesota), would require that Medicare entry the identical prescription drug costs because the Division of Veterans Affairs (VA), which has been allowed to barter drug costs for nearly 30 years.

If handed, the invoice would save Medicare an estimated $835 billion over the following 10 years, in response to a press launch. It could take impact originally of subsequent 12 months.

“There isn’t any rational motive, aside from greed, for Medicare to pay twice as a lot for a similar precise prescribed drugs because the VA,” Sanders stated in an announcement. “The invoice we’re introducing right now would reduce the worth of prescribed drugs in half beneath Medicare, save taxpayers $835 billion over the following decade and supply actual reduction to thousands and thousands of seniors who can not afford their prescribed drugs.”

“If Republicans are actually severe about decreasing the deficit they need to assist this invoice,” Sanders added.

The invoice would, in essence, permit Medicare to purchase medicine at half the worth the company at present does. In accordance to a study by the Authorities Accountability Workplace commissioned by Sanders’s workplace, as of 2017, Veterans Affairs paid on common over 50 p.c much less for a pattern of a number of hundred medicine, together with the highest 100 model title and generic medicine in Medicare’s drug record.

A separate Congressional Funds Workplace report from 2021 discovered that the typical value for 176 prime medicine was $190 for Veterans Affairs and $343 for Medicare. For sure specialty medicine, Veterans Affairs pays a mean of $2,002 for a one month provide — roughly 60 p.c decrease than Medicare’s common value of $4,902.

Despite the fact that Veterans Affairs has been capable of negotiate prescription drug costs for many years, Medicare was solely lately granted the ability to negotiate prices for 10 medicine beginning in 2026 beneath Democrats’ Inflation Discount Act.

The invoice is only one of Sanders’s current and deliberate strikes as chair of the Senate Well being, Schooling, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee to focus on the pharmaceutical trade. In current months, the senator has been placing strain on Massive Pharma executives just like the CEO of Moderna, on points starting from the costs of COVID vaccines to insulin to all prescribed drugs on the whole. This month, Sanders is holding a listening to on insulin costs, for which he has called the CEOs of three main insulin producers to testify.

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