In this clip, Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) takes the chief of the federal Food and Drug Administration to task for his role in turning a blind eye to the pharmaceutical industry’s rampant extortion of the American people and for helping to perpetuate the myth
“Last year, the pharmaceutical industry spent $250 million on lobbying and campaign contributions, and employ some 1400 lobbyists. Do you think that, Dr. Califf, that that type of expenditure has any impact on the fact that we pay by far the highest prices in the world for prescription drugs?”
Dr. Califf doesn’t think so, giving the tired and debunked excuse that the money went into “research and development,” which doesn’t fly with Sanders: “doctors have written to us, that no matter what drugs are available, their patients can’t afford them!” Many cancer drugs cost hundreds of thousands of dollars for a year’s worth; an acid reflux drug called Nexium costs more than $200 in the United States – but only $60 in Switzerland.
Sanders hits back, wondering how we can import vegetables and proteins from around the world but can’t import low-cost drugs from other nations? He then demands to know why regulations prevent Medicare from negotiating its own prices in with the passion and populist aggression that we have grown to love him for – but gets no satisfactory answers.
It is an absolute travesty that pharmaceutical companies are allowed to run roughshod over sick and needy Americans, reaping billions in government subsidies and making huge profits off the backs of the American people, and it is far beyond time we changed the way our healthcare works.
Watch it here:
Colin Taylor is the editor-in-chief of Occupy Democrats. He graduated from Bennington College with a Bachelor's degree in history and political science. He now focuses on advancing the cause of social justice and equality in America.