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Biden Highlights Drug Pricing Action with Assistance from Bernie Sanders

Biden with Bernie (Credits: The Hill)

“Bernie, you and I have been fighting this for 25 years,” Biden exclaimed. “Finally, finally we beat Big Pharma.” Biden emphasized his administration’s achievements in limiting insulin costs to $35 a month for Medicare beneficiaries and mandating drug companies to negotiate prices with Medicare for the first time. He acknowledged Sanders’ instrumental role in steering drug pricing legislation through Congress.

Earlier this year, Sanders and several Democratic colleagues condemned major inhaler manufacturers like AstraZeneca, GSK, Teva Pharmaceuticals, and Boehringer for charging higher U.S. prices than other countries.

Bernie Sanders (Credits: The Washington Post)

Since then, one inhaler manufacturer has waived patents, and three of the largest manufacturers have committed to capping the cost of inhalers for many patients at $35 a month.

Biden pledged to expand upon his current initiatives, including his shared objective with Sanders to limit healthcare expenses to $2,000 annually for all Americans, extending beyond those on Medicare. “With Bernie’s help, we’re demonstrating how healthcare should be a right, not a privilege in America,” Biden asserted.

Joe Biden (Credits: The White House)

The president’s joint appearance with Sanders was part of the Biden campaign’s broader focus on healthcare costs during an election year. Biden has aimed to underscore Democrats’ endeavors to reduce drug prices, although polls indicate that most voters are unaware of these efforts.

The collaborative event aimed to leverage Sanders’ populism. The Vermont senator has a history of publicly condemning pharmaceutical CEOs for their pricing strategies.

As chairman of the Senate Health Committee, Sanders secured commitments from the CEO of Eli Lilly to refrain from insulin price hikes and from the CEO of Moderna to ensure that individuals would not have to pay out of pocket for the company’s COVID-19 vaccine.

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