WASHINGTON -- The cost of prescription drugs could plummet under a new bill proposed by Democratic Sen. Jeff Merkley.
If passed, drug prices would be regulated to match what patients in other developed countries such as Canada or the United Kingdom pay. Currently, many drugs cost much more to purchase in the United States than they do abroad. Under the bill, Merkley said the cost of medications such as insulin would drop by nearly 500%. Companies that fail to match prices would also face fines.
“The only people in the United States of America who think drug prices aren't too high are those getting rich from drug company profits,” Merkley said during an interview with reporters Thursday.
According to Bloomberg, Americans pay about $1,200 more on prescription medication each year than anywhere else in the world.
“In Douglas County, a father told me about a vial of medication his daughter needs to treat deadly seizures. It costs $200 in Canada, and here in the United States, he's charged $45,000,” Merkley said, adding that staff later verified the costs.
Merkley acknowledged concerns from drug companies and some Republicans who are skeptical of too much regulation, worrying it would slow down drug innovation.
But Merkley said Americans should pay lower prices because taxpayer money is used to develop new drugs.
“It is a completely bogus argument,” Merkley said. “A lot of that research money comes from the taxpayer. We pay it. And again, we should get the best price as a result."
You can read the entire bill here.