Sen. Bernard Sanders, Vermont Democrat, made an ambitious campaign promise Sunday, declaring that he would slash U.S. prescription-drug prices in half if elected president in 2020.
“We pay by far the highest prices in the world for prescription drugs,” Mr. Sanders, who’s seeking the Democratic presidential nomination, told CBS’s “Face the Nation.”
He continued, “Let me make a campaign promise to you, and you can repeat this, play this tape over, if I’m elected president, and that is, if I am elected president, I am going to cut prescription drug costs in this country by 50 percent. So that we are not paying any more than other major countries are paying.”
How would he do that? “We will look at the average costs of prescription drugs in Canada, UK, Germany, Japan and France, we look at their average costs, which are 50 percent lower than they are in the United States, and we will do that,” Mr. Sanders said.
His campaign promise came with candidates in the crowded Democratic presidential field jostling for the support of the party’s left wing with calls for government to play a larger role in health care.
Mr. Sanders also said he planned to reintroduce his “Medicare for All” bill in the Senate in the next few weeks, a proposal gaining popularity among Democratic presidential candidates.
A self-described democratic socialist, Mr. Sanders blasted the top pharmaceutical companies, saying they took in $50 billion in profits last year and paid their CEOs “outrageous compensation packages.”
The drug firms may object to the 50 percent cut, but Mr. Sanders said that “if they don’t like that, then we’ll take a look at their patents.”