Think Progress, Sept. 3, 2015
by Andrew Breiner
As a congressman in 1999, now-Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), was the first member of Congress to lead seniors across the Canadian border to buy cheaper drugs. Now he wants to make that possible for all Americans. As a candidate for president, he has made the astronomical cost of prescription drugs a central point of his campaign. Now he’s set to introduce a new bill to beef up the government’s ability to keep prices down.
The U.S. has some of the highest prescription drug prices and spending in the world, with much higher average yearly spending compared with Europeans or Canadians. In June, a prominent cancer doctor excoriated the pharmaceutical industry for “the unsustainably high prices of cancer drugs,” which have been rising rapidly. Even with health insurance, American with cancer are twice as likely to go bankrupt from medical costs compared with those who don’t have cancer. As a growing problem with drug addiction has turned attention to the drug naloxone to reverse overdoses, its manufacturer Amphaster Pharmaceuticals raised the price by more than $1,100. Even the prices of generic drugs have jumped 1,000 percent.