Biden touts inhaler price drops with Bernie Sanders: “Finally, finally we beat big Pharma”

Senator Bernie Sanders and President Biden joined forces Wednesday at the White House, defending the progress they have made in reducing the cost of inhalers and other expenses for Americans with asthma.

Mr. Biden and Sanders also called on Congress and drug companies to do more to rein in prices.

“Bernie, you and I have been fighting this for 25 years,” the president said Wednesday. “Finally, we finally beat big pharma. Finally. I’m serious. I’m proud – I’m proud that my administration took on big pharma, in the most meaningful way possible. And I wouldn’t have not done without Bernie.”.

Mr. Biden and Sanders have said they are lobbying drug companies that charge hundreds of dollars for inhalers, and the president is trying to cap insulin costs at $35. Earlier this year, Sanders and several fellow Democrats criticized four major inhaler makers — AstraZeneca, GSK, Teva Pharmaceuticals and Boehringer — for charging significantly higher prices in the United States than elsewhere. Since then, one inhaler maker has canceled its patents and three of the largest inhaler makers plan to cap the cost of inhalers for many patients at $35 a month, according to a White House official.

The Federal Trade Commission is challenging the validity of patents on pharmaceutical products, including inhalers, in an effort to curb prices and increase competition.

“Last November, the FTC challenged the way pharmaceutical companies manipulate and play games with…patents to keep low-cost generic drugs, including asthma inhalers, off the market.” Sanders said. “By standing up to drug companies, the FTC helped win this major victory for the American people. And it’s not just about inhalers.”

The president said the inventor of insulin “didn’t want to patent it because he wanted it to be available to everyone.”

“Here’s some good news,” Sanders said Wednesday, speaking to the president. “Despite all of the incredible wealth and political power of the pharmaceutical industry – believe it or not, they have over 1,800 well-paid lobbyists right here in Washington, D.C. – despite all of this, the Biden administration and Democratic Democrats Congress begins to make decisions. progress.”

Now, “the vast majority of Americans will pay no more than $35 at the pharmacy counter for the inhalers they buy,” Sanders said.

Americans pay more for prescription drugs than employees of any other advanced company in the world, typically two to three times as much, Mr. Biden and Sanders said. One company charges customers $9 for inhalers in Germany and $286 in the United States, Mr. Biden said, more than 30 times as much. More than 27 million people in the United States have asthma, according to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America.

Sanders has long advocated creating a single-payer national health insurance program, and Mr. Biden has made lowering health care costs a centerpiece of his White House, as well as his re-election campaign. Last month he pleaded with Congress during his State of the Union address to enact measures to reduce health care costs, something Sanders mentioned in his Wednesday speech. The administration is trying to reduce what Americans pay for drugs because prolonged high inflation has reduced Americans’ purchasing power.

“Despite everything we have accomplished so far, it is not enough,” Sanders said Wednesday. “By working together, we can fight the greed of the pharmaceutical industry and dramatically reduce the cost of prescription drugs in America. And when we do that, we will reduce the cost of health care in our country.”


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