Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg Monday rolled out his proposals to reduce prescription drug prices including one to cancel patents held by “worst offender” drug companies that refuse to lower prices for essential drugs.
Buttigieg, Mayor of South Bend, Ind., included a number of ideas widely proposed by both Democrats and Republicans seeking to control drug prices, such as allowing the federal government to negotiate drug prices with pharmaceutical companies.
Yet his also includes some proposed penalties to dissuade or punish pharmaceutical companies that appear to be price gouging, especially at the expense of desperate patients. His plan includes provisions to use eminent domain laws to take away patents, and to force pharmaceutical companies that raise prices by more than inflation to pay quarterly rebates.
Buttigieg’s drugs proposal also ties in with his previously announced “Medicare for All Who Want It” health care plan, offering Medicare as a competitive option on the health insurance market,
“Time and time again, Washington has proven that it’s either uninterested in or incapable of addressing this problem. Instead of siding with Americans, politicians have stood with Big Pharma, as they did when Congress barred the federal government from negotiating with pharmaceutical companies on drug prices for seniors,” Buttigieg stated in a news release issued Monday by his campaign. “It’s time for a new era of leadership in Washington who will finally make drugs affordable and take on pharmaceutical companies.”
The release stated that Americans spend more than $1,200 on prescription drugs per person per year, more than double what the British, Norwegians, and Italians pay per person.
Buttigieg’s campaign also charged that three in ten Americans skip doses or forgo filling prescriptions due to costs; that pharmaceutical companies are the most profitable companies in the entire health care sector; and that n the first six months of 2019, pharmaceutical companies increased prices for 3,400 drugs, and for those drugs, the average increase was 10.5 percent.
— Cut out-of-pocket prescription drug costs for seniors on Medicare by at least 50 percent by the end of his first term, including an out-of-pocket cap on prescription drug costs of $200 per month;
— Cap out-of-pocket spending on prescription drugs under $250 per month for everyone choosing public coverage under his Medicare for All Who Want It plan;
— Allow the federal government to negotiate drug prices with pharmaceutical companies;
— Exercising ‘eminent domain’ to take patents away from “worst offenders” that refuse to lower prices for essential drugs;
— Penalizing pharmaceutical companies that raise prices by more than inflation;
— Requiring pharmaceutical companies under a public plan or Medicare to report prices, discounts, rebates and free goods, and costs of manufacturing drugs to the federal government;
— Institute a $0 co-pay for high-quality generic medicines for low-income people on Medicare, Medicaid, and his Medicare for All Who Want It plan;
— Reduce median annual out-of-pocket drug spending for middle-class Americans on Medicare Part D living with cancer by at least $5,100 and by at least $2,000 for those living with certain immune disorders;
— Reducing the cost of naloxone, a drug used to reverse opioid overdoses, and other medicines used to treat substance abuse.