Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Hillary Clinton Following in Bernie Sanders Footsteps

In 2009 President Obama made a bargain with the devil to get Obamacare™ passed if Big Pharma agreed to mark down certain prescription drug prices for seniors. In return the White House would agree to spare the drug companies from having to negotiate lower drug prices.

On September 1, 2015 Bernie Sanders posted this on his website: Stop Skyrocketing Drug Prices.

Two days later this was followed by an excellent article at Think Progress: Prescription Drug Prices are Out of Control. Bernie Sanders has a Plan (by Andrew Breiner Sep 3, 2015)

Then three weeks later we got this BREAKING NEWS from the New York Times: Drug Goes From $13.50 a Tablet to $750.00 Overnight (by Andrew Pollack Sept. 20, 2015 — where Bernie Sanders is mentioned.)

Two days later Bernie Sanders appeared on MSNBC's "All in with Chris Hayes" to discuss that story in New York Times, saying Big Pharma spent more money last year on lobbying, campaign contributions, marketing and advertising than they did on research and development.

Below are some articles in follow-up pieces to that New York Times post:

"Hillary Clinton on Tuesday unveiled a plan to rein in prescription drug costs by forcing pharmaceutical companies to reinvest their profits into research and allowing for more generic and imported drugs." (Sound familiar?)

Bernie Sanders stance on the issue of prescription drug prices had already been posted on his website when he first began campaigning for President (and is also posted here at Feel The Bern). Bernie has been at this for years.

Just like her plan on college tuition costs, the keystone pipeline, the TPP trade agreement, prescription drug prices (etc.), we can always expect Hillary Clinton to follow in Bernie Sanders' footsteps — or borrow ideas from him and Senator Elizabeth Warren. Just like former Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley recently said:

"On issue after issue — marriage equality, drivers licenses for undocumented immigrants, children fleeing violence in Central America, the Syrian refugee crisis, and now the Keystone Pipeline, Secretary Clinton has followed — not forged — public opinion. Leadership is about stating where you stand on critical issues, regardless of how they poll or focus groups."

RELATED POST: Hillary Clinton dodges sniper fire in Bosnia (Raw footage)


  1. Hillary Clinton received hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from doctors, hospitals, drug companies, and insurance companies for her 2006 re-election in the Senate, including several insurance companies that were members of the Health Insurance Association of America that helped defeat the Clinton Health Plan in 1994.

  2. Hillary Clinton is unveiling her proposal to lower drug costs, and she has taken aim squarely at that first defense: If companies really need high prices to spend it on science, then they should be required to spend a set amount of their revenue on research and development costs.

    “The drug industry argues that high prices are necessary to pay for research and development, so let’s take them up on that argument,” said Topher Spiro, the vice president for health policy at the left-leaning Center for American Progress, which published a paper last week [link below] endorsing a similar idea. “Let’s have a relationship between prices and spending on research and development.”

    But critics worry that drug companies might instead stick with their prices and then pour more money into new forms of research, even if they don’t have good ideas or won’t provide much public benefit with the work.

    Clinton would eliminate the tax deductibility of marketing costs for drug companies. She would force insurance companies to limit how much customers could be asked to pay for drugs each month. She would require Medicare to negotiate directly with drugmakers on prices, and allow American customers to import drugs manufactured in other countries. [Sounds exactly like Bernie Sanders!]

  3. From a letter from Senator Bernie Sanders (Sept. 2015)

    Last year, 35 million Americans could not get their prescriptions filled because they could not afford it.

    People should not have to go without the medication they need just because their elected officials aren’t willing to challenge the drug and health care industry lobby. Yet that is exactly what is happening.

    I have a plan to change this. Last week I introduced a bill in the Senate — and when I am president, I will work to make it law — that will stop the soaring costs of prescription drug prices.

    Medicare should negotiate lower drug prices with the pharmaceutical industry. Due to a provision in law written by the pharmaceutical industry, Medicare is banned from using its purchasing power to lower prescription drug prices. My plan will empower Medicare to negotiate lower costs for our seniors, and save us all money.

    Americans should be able to import drugs from Canada and other well-regulated countries. Individuals, pharmacists, and wholesalers should be able to import prescription drugs from licensed Canadian pharmacies. Americans pay 40% more per person than Canadians for prescription drugs. Anyone in our country should be able to take advantage of those savings for medications they need.

    We need better transparency around drug costs. Right now, the pharmaceutical industry can arbitrarily set prices for drugs, and the public has very little insight into why certain drugs cost what they do — even though some of the research costs are often funded with U.S. taxpayer dollars. I believe that drug companies should tell us about how much drugs cost to research and develop, how much taxpayer money went towards those costs, what drugs actually cost in the United States, and how much they cost in other countries.

    Generic drugs should be widely available, and drug companies shouldn't be able to pay off competitors to keep cheaper drugs off the market. Brand-name drugs cost, on average, 10 times as much as generics. Right now, it is a common practice for big drug companies to pay their competitors to restrict generic drugs from the public. We need to ban this practice, and make cheaper drugs readily available.

    Drug companies that break the law should face severe penalties. If any drug company is convicted of criminal or civil fraud, they should face severe penalties including the prospect of losing their government-granted monopoly on a drug. Over the last decade, most major-branded drug makers have either settled or been convicted of fraud for violations including off-label promotion, kickbacks, anti-monopoly practices, and Medicare fraud. It's time to step up the penalties for breaking the law.

    What good is it to live in the richest country on earth, if so many of our people cannot afford medications that could save their lives?

    The American people are sick and tired of paying the highest prices for prescription drugs in the world. The skyrocketing prices of prescription drugs are an example of the greed of the pharmaceutical companies that has got to stop.

    Now, I believe that the true solution is a national health care system that puts people ahead of profits and health ahead of special interests, and I will soon introduce legislation to provide a Medicare-for-all, single-payer system to provide health care for all Americans.

    But we must also address these outrageous costs of prescription drugs, and my plan that I outlined here will do that.

  4. UPDATE: Martin Shkreli Is Just a Tiny Part of a Huge Problem:

    Americans were outraged over his 5,000 percent price hike of a life-saving drug. They should see what Big Pharma has in store.

    The drug lobby has killed every attempt to address the exorbitant price of drugs in the United States over the past few decades, including in the negotiations over the Affordable Care Act and Medicare Part D.

    In fact, drug companies are pushing ahead with aggressive measures to further deregulate the industry and neuter the Food and Drug Administration, which approves new medical products.

    Meanwhile, in the courts, conservative think tanks like the Washington Legal Foundation and their Pharma allies are pushing the free-speech rights of drug companies, which would allow them to make claims about their products without sufficient evidence to prove that they are true, as long as the claims are not proven false or misleading.

    Was what Martin Shkreli did stupid and greedy? Yes. But the bigger threat is still out there, and with no significant opposition to stop Big Pharma’s march forward.

  5. To raise awareness about the pharmaceutical industry’s effort to secure a special exemption from the "Inter Partes Review (IPR)" process, the Alliance for Retired Americans has launched a new campaign with press conferences in Burlington, Vermont, Chicago and Minneapolis.

    At the urging of certain drug companies, some members of Congress are trying to quietly remove only drug companies from the IPR process, which was put into place to allow for timely challenges to illegitimate patents. Illegitimate drug patents are one of the causes of rising drug prices, such as when a company changes a dosage amount in order to extend a monopoly and stop affordable generic drugs from being available to consumers. Special treatment for the pharmaceutical industry would cost taxpayers billions in higher prescription drug prices.

    Richard Fiesta, Executive Director of the Alliance for Retired Americans, said: “Americans pay the highest prescription drug prices in the world and seniors are particularly hard hit. We are calling on members of Congress to stand up for consumers, taxpayers and seniors by opposing a special carve-out for drug companies from IPR patent review.”

    The Vermont Alliance held their press event in front of Sen. Patrick Leahy’s office, and the Illinois Alliance organized their event with Rep. Jan Schakowsky in front of a Chicago pharmacy. An additional protest is planned for Minneapolis in October.

    Read an op-ed from Vermont Alliance president Jane Osgatharp here:

  6. Rational Drug Pricing

  7. On issue after issue, Hillary comes out AFTER Bernie Sanders...she is a follower, not a leader. Now it's on the Cadillac Tax:

    9/24/15 --- Sanders, Brown and Senate Democrats Introduce Bill to Stop Cadillac Tax

    9/25/15 -- Bernie Sanders And Republicans Both Urge Cadillac Tax Repeal

    09/29/15 --- Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton today called for scrapping the Affordable Care Act’s so-called Cadillac tax on pricey health care benefits.

  8. UPDATE:

    Does anybody else see a pattern here?

    Once again, following in Bernie Sanders' footsteps (like she has on college tuition, same-sex marriage, the Keystone Pipeline, prescription drug prices, the Cadillac Tax on healthcare plans (etc), now Hillary Clinton says she would impose stricter controls on sales at gun shows. During her presidential campaign she has JUST STARTED advocating on behalf of issues that Bernies Sanders has been doing for years, sometimes for decades.