A new analysis commissioned by Sen. Bernie Sanders, shows U.S. consumers and insurers pay two to four times more for prescription drugs than other rich countries.
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A new government study commissioned by Sen. Bernie Sanders shows that the U.S. pays two to four times more for prescription drugs than other rich countries, a finding that came as President Joe Biden rolled out a social safety-net plan on Wednesday that excludes progressive proposals to tackle sky-high medicine costs.
According to an analysis by the Government Accountability Office (GAO), retail prices that U.S. consumers and insurers paid for 20 brand-name prescription drugs in 2020 were 2.82 times higher than in Canada, 4.25 times higher than in Australia, and 4.36 times higher than in France.
The drugs GAO examined were a sampling of 41 brand-name medicines with the highest expenditures and use in the Medicare Part D program, which under current federal law is prohibited from negotiating prices with pharmaceutical companies.
One example GAO cites is Xarelto, a blood clot medication that costs more than $558 for 30 tablets in the U.S. but just over $85 in Canada.
“This important GAO study confirms what we all already know: the pharmaceutical industry is ripping off the American people,” Sanders (I-Vt.) said in a statement. “The time is long overdue for the United States to do what every major country on earth does: negotiate with the pharmaceutical companies to lower the outrageous price of prescription drugs.”
The Vermont senator went on to urge Biden to “put this proposal in the American Families Plan and use the savings to expand and improve Medicare for older Americans.”
“We can no longer tolerate the American people paying, by far, the highest prices in the world for prescription drugs,” said Sanders.
Despite pressure from Sanders and other progressive lawmakers, Biden’s $1.8 trillion American Families Plan leaves out proposals to lower the Medicare eligibility age and allow the federal government to directly negotiate prescription drug prices,