Biden, Sanders tout drug pricing action

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“Bernie, you and I have been fighting this for 25 years,” Biden said. “Finally, finally we beat Big Pharma.” 


Biden talked up his efforts to cap the costs of insulin at $35 a month for people on Medicare, as well as requiring drug companies to negotiate prices with Medicare for the first time ever. He credited Sanders with helping to shepherd drug pricing legislation through Congress. 


Earlier this year, Sanders and several Democratic colleagues criticized four major inhaler manufacturers — AstraZeneca, GSK, Teva Pharmaceuticals and Boehringer — for having significantly higher prices in the U.S. than elsewhere.  


Since then, one inhaler manufacturer has nixed patents, and three of the largest inhaler manufacturers said they plan to cap the cost of inhalers for many patients at $35 a month. 


Biden pledged to build on his current measures, including a shared goal with Sanders of capping health care costs at $2,000 annually for all Americans, not just those on Medicare. 


“With Bernie’s help, we’re showing how health care ought to be a right, not a privilege in America,” Biden said. 


The president’s appearance with Sanders was part of a broader election-year focus by the Biden campaign on health costs. Biden has sought to highlight Democrats’ efforts to lower drug prices, but polls have shown most voters are unaware of those efforts. 


The joint appearance aimed to tap into Sanders’s populism.  


The Vermont senator has a history of naming and shaming pharma CEOs for their pricing tactics, and as chairman of the Senate Health Committee he has extracted a promise of no insulin price hikes from the CEO of Eli Lilly, as well as a pledge from the CEO of Moderna that nobody would have to pay out pocket for the company’s COVID-19 shot. 

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