Bernie Sanders Criticizes Big Pharma for Exploitative Drug Pricing in the US

Senator Bernie Sanders from Vermont has recently released a scathing report targeting exorbitant drug prices in the United States, particularly focusing on the compensation of executives at major pharmaceutical companies like Johnson & Johnson (J&J), Merck, and Bristol Myers Squibb. This report coincided with a hearing on February 8, where CEOs from these companies faced intense scrutiny from Sanders and his staff associated with the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP Committee).

Sanders’ report highlights a stark contrast in drug prices between the U.S. and other countries, emphasizing that Americans often pay significantly more for life-saving medications. For instance, the report reveals that the price of the cancer drug Keytruda is more than double in the U.S. compared to Germany, with similar disparities seen in other medications like Eliquis.

Key findings from the report include staggering profits made by these pharmaceutical giants, coupled with hefty compensation packages for their CEOs. In 2022 alone, Johnson & Johnson, Bristol Myers Squibb, and Merck collectively spent billions on stock buybacks, dividends, and executive compensation, far outweighing their investments in research and development (R&D).

Sanders’ report also sheds light on legislative efforts aimed at holding pharmaceutical companies accountable for their pricing strategies. Bills such as the Modernizing and Ensuring PBM Accountability (MEPA) Act seek to increase transparency and competition within the pharmaceutical supply chain, addressing issues related to pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) and their influence on drug pricing.

During the committee hearing, Sanders emphasized the need to confront companies prioritizing profits over innovation, signaling a broader push for accountability within the pharmaceutical industry.


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