Bernie Sanders Takes Down Drug Companies and Washington Lobbyists' Latest Racket

The price of insulin is going up, and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) refuses to take it lying down. 


On Wednesday, the Vermont senator weighed in on a new class-action lawsuit taking aim at drug manufacturers.

"In the last 25 years, the pharmaceutical industry, major companies, have been fined some $35 billion for collusion, for fraud and for other illegal behavior," Sanders explained in an interview with "CBS This Morning."

"Coincidentally, [as insulin prices skyrocket]... the three major suppliers of insulin seem to be raising their prices at the same exact time at the same level. So I think you have to be very naive not to believe that there is collusion," Sanders added. 

Sanders strongly advocated for a single-payer healthcare system during his presidential campaign and has since introduced legislation to allow Americans to buy less expensive medicine. But while Sanders' bill for allowing drug re-importation received bipartisan support, it was ultimately killed by 13 Democratic senators who voted against it.

Six million Americans depend on insulin to survive, and those without a way to pay are often forced to cross a border. 

"Right now, in my state of Vermont, people go across the border, buy the exact same medicine they can buy in Vermont; they're getting it there for 50%, 60% lower prices," Sanders pointed out. "If those product can come in to pharmacists and distributors in this country, we can lower the price of prescription drugs very, very significantly."

Sanders' fight against Big Pharma is inextricably bound to his push for campaign finance reform. 

"Five major drug companies last year made $50 billion in profits," Sanders said. "They have well over 1,000 lobbyists in Washington D.C. Their business model is greed, there are millions of people who cannot afford the prescription drugs their doctors prescribe... What the pharmaceutical industry is doing is an outrage....Their policies are literally killing people who cannot afford their medicine."

President Trump has also spoken out against the greed of the pharmaceutical industry, but has since backtracked after meeting with pharmaceutical lobbyists.

"Instead of negotiating drug prices down, [Trump] talked about cutting taxes for drug companies that already make billions on the backs of American consumers," Sanders noted in a Washington Post op-ed published February 2. 

Watch:

Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. AlterNet’s journalists work tirelessly to counter the traditional corporate media narrative. We’re here seven days a week, 365 days a year. And we’re proud to say that we’ve been bringing you the real, unfiltered news for 20 years—longer than any other progressive news site on the Internet.

It’s through the generosity of our supporters that we’re able to share with you all the underreported news you need to know. Independent journalism is increasingly imperiled; ads alone can’t pay our bills. AlterNet counts on readers like you to support our coverage. Did you enjoy content from David Cay Johnston, Common Dreams, Raw Story and Robert Reich? Opinion from Salon and Jim Hightower? Analysis by The Conversation? Then join the hundreds of readers who have supported AlterNet this year.

Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Help ensure AlterNet remains independent long into the future. Support progressive journalism with a one-time contribution to AlterNet, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you. Click here to donate by check.

Close