The way to ensure prescription drugs are affordable in the U.S. is for the government to establish fair prices for these drugs, just as virtually all other nations do. In the meantime, Senator Bernie Sanders, along with co-sponsors Senators Cory Booker and Bob Casey, have introduced a bill in Congress that would allow people in the U.S. to take advantage of the low drug prices other advanced nations have negotiated. It would allow drug importation from these countries by individuals, pharmacies and wholesale distributors, lowering people’s drug costs.
Sanders’ bill, the Affordable and Safe Prescription Drug Importation Act, would direct the Secretary of Health and Human Services to develop regulations that allowed importation of safe and effective drugs from Canada within 180 days of the law’s enactment. And, two years later, the law would permit importation of safe and effective drugs from many advanced nations.
The law uses free trade between the U.S. and other countries to drive down the cost of drugs here. Failing to allow people in the U.S. to import lower cost prescription drugs disadvantages us economically. We spend more than $300 billion a year on prescription drugs, with the federal government (taxpayers) picking up $100 billion of the cost. Making drug importation by wholesalers, pharmacies and individuals legal would save us tens of billions of dollars annually.
In 2014, Americans spent an average of $1,114 per person on prescription drugs. Canadians spent about 70 percent of what we spent per person, $772. Danes spent $325 on average. That said, millions of Americans already take advantage of lower prescription drug prices abroad through online pharmacies.
Today, the drug industry is among the most highly profitable industries. The five most profitable pharmaceutical companies took in more than $50 billion in profits in 2015. High drug prices benefit drug company executives and shareholders and hurt working people. The lack of competition in the prescription drug marketplace for many medically necessary drugs is jeopardizing the health and well-being of millions of Americans.
Congressmen Elijah Cummings and Lloyd Doggett introduced companion legislation in the House of Representatives.
If you support making drug prices in the U.S. affordable, please sign this petition.
Here’s more from Just Care:
- Republican plan to repeal the ACA takes shape: Trumpcare, less care, more money for wealthy and industry
- International online pharmacies can save you money on prescription drugs
- Why are drug prices in the U.S. twice as much as in Holland or Great Britain?
- Some generic drugs rising at a staggering pace
- Facts about prescription drug prices in the U.S.
- Why should drug companies have extra monopolies?