Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and a group of Democratic lawmakers have just urged Trump to do something about high prescription drug costs. Trump said throughout his campaign that he promised to bring drug prices, but hasn’t done anything to do so since he took office.
On Tuesday Sanders introduced a bill that would allow prescription drugs to be imported from Canada, as long as they meet the specific safety standards needed.
One of the co-sponsors of the bill, Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), said that “We’re attacking this problem by focusing on ideas that even President Trump says he supports.”
Democrats feel that Trump will have no problem supporting the bill. Cummings even said he is “tempted to introduce a bill in the House named ‘The Donald Trump Drug Affordability Act. I’m sure he would like that.”
Sanders said he expects the drug lobby to put up a big fight, but that he will win this time.
“Do we expect the pharmaceutical industry will spend an enormous sum of money to oppose this? Of course we do,” Sanders said.
“This is the time. The American people are sick and tired of getting ripped off, and we’re going to win this thing.”
For the bill to work Sanders will need foreign sellers to register with the Food and Drug Administration.
So far, the bill already has 19 co-sponsors in the Senate, all of which are Democrats. But Sanders is optimistic and expects multiple Republicans to also sign the bill.
A Sanders amendment voted on last month that would allow people to buy prescription drugs from Canada received the support of 12 Republican senators, including John McCain, Ted Cruz and Rand Paul.
Although that amendment did receive support from Democratic Sens. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) and Mark Heinrich, they have both already co-sponsored Sanders’ new bill. They said their safety concerns have been addressed in the new bill.
It’ll be hard to pass the bill since almost 170 organizations signed a letter to Congress Tuesday urging Congress to block the bill, citing the “hazards of drug importation.”
“Proposals allowing importation would undermine nearly two decades of drug safety policy,” reads the letter.
“Additionally, a large share of medicines that flow through Canada are counterfeit, and while it may seem safe to import medicines from developed countries like Canada and Western Europe, those medicines may have originated from countries all over the world.”