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Bernie Sanders’ bill would force drug companies to match foreign prices

November 20, 2018

Capitol Hill progressives released a bill Tuesday that would compel drug companies to charge Americans no more than the median price for prescriptions in Canada, the U.K., France, Germany and Japan.

Sen. Bernard Sanders of Vermont and Rep. Ro Khanna of California said the federal government will approve generic versions of those drugs if companies refuse to lower prices, regardless of patents or exclusivity rights.

“No other country allows pharmaceutical companies to charge any price they want for any reason they want,” Mr. Sanders said. “Somebody in America today can walk into a pharmacy and find out that the medicine they have been using for years can double, triple or quadruple literally overnight. That needs to change.”

The idea matches the spirit of President Trump’s new plan to align the cost of doctor-administered drugs under Medicare Part B with what other developed nations pay.

Progressives say the plan falls short because it doesn’t help 150 million Americans on job-based insurance or those who lack coverage and pay cash for drugs.

Mr. Sanders and Mr. Khanna said Mr. Trump’s push to slash prices isn’t working generally, pointing to Pfizer’s decision Friday to hike the prices of 41 drugs in January.

Earlier this year, Mr. Trump personally convinced Pfizer to delay planned price hikes, but the thaw appears to be over.

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