BOSTON (CBS) – Every day, tens of millions of Americans take prescription medications to treat physical and mental issues. Too often, the price of those drugs is beyond what a patient can afford. It’s an issue acknowledged by nearly every candidate running for president.

Here is a brief look at where each of the current presidential candidates stand:

Michael Bennet (D)
Colorado Senator

• Bennet proposes to lower the cost of prescription drugs by allowing the government to directly negotiate prices for Medicare.
Supported a bill which would cap out-of-pocket prescription drug costs in the Medicare program and require manufacturer rebates if drug prices increase faster than the rate of inflation.

Joseph Biden, Jr. (D)
Former Vice President

Biden plans to impose hard caps on prices for drugs manufactured by a single company.
• Plans to allow drug importation from foreign countries, if the government determines they are safe.
• Wants to cap price increases at the rate of inflation.
• Supports allowing Medicare to negotiate directly with drug makers on prices.

Cory Booker (D)
New Jersey Senator

• Booker has not outlined a prescription drug cost plan.
• In 2019, Booker supported three different bills designed to lower drug prices.

Steve Bullock (D)
Governor of Montana

• Bullock has not presented a prescription drug plan.
• As Governor, Bullock vetoed a 2019 Montana bill that attempted to lower drug prices; he said it would do the opposite.

Pete Buttigieg (D)
Mayor of South Bend, Indiana

• Buttigieg wants the Medicare system to have the power to negotiate drug prices.
• He plans to enact a Medicare for All approach so that drugs are available to all.

Julian Castro (D)
Former Housing Secretary

• Supports Medicare negotiating drug prices with manufacturers.
• Supports importing prescription drugs from other countries.

Bill de Blasio (D)
Mayor of New York City

• In 2019, de Blasio rolled out a $100 million/year program providing health care to all NYC residents, including undocumented immigrants. Did this in part to help lower prescription costs.
• Supports lowering and stabilizing drug prices

John Delaney (D)
Former Maryland Congressman

Delaney plans to allow the federal government to negotiate drug prices with pharmaceutical companies.
• If a company is selling a drug for a higher price in the U.S. than in other countries, Delaney wants to impose a 100% excise tax on the difference

Tulsi Gabbard (D)
Hawaii Congresswoman

• Gabbard cosponsored legislation to allow importing of prescription drugs from Canada.
• Backed the Medicare Drug Price Negotiation Act, which would allow the government to directly negotiate Medicare drug costs with manufacturers.

Kirsten Gillibrand (D)
New York Senator

• Gillibrand wants to penalize drug companies for raising prices without justification.
• She wants the government to be able to import medications which are proven to be safe and negotiate prices with drug companies.
• She also wants to create a Pharmaceutical Czar to oversee audits of the industry’s practices.

Kamala Harris (D)
California Senator

• Harris’s plan would empower the Secretary of Health and Human Services to set new top prices for all drugs sold in America, based on prices in other developed countries.
• Harris would use executive authority to introduce more competition into the drug market, if Congress does not act first.

John Hickenlooper (D)
Former Governor of Colorado

• Hickenlooper has not outlined a prescription drug cost plan at this time.

Jay Inslee (D)
Governor of Washington

• Inslee supports negotiating drug prices for Medicare’s outpatient prescription drug benefit.
• He would expand federal regulations and require drug companies to provide justification for any price hike over 10%.
• In 2019, he signed a bill that would bring more transparency to prescription drug price increases.

Amy Klobuchar (D)
Minnesota Senator

• Klobuchar’s proposal would allow the government to negotiate Medicare Part D costs.
• Her proposal also allow people to order prescription drugs from other countries.
• Wants to end the practice of “pay-for-delay,” where drug makers pay generic manufacturers to delay introducing competing products.

Wayne Messam (D)
Mayor of Miramar, Florida

• Messam supports negotiating drug prices for Medicare’s outpatient prescription drug benefit.
• Wants to reform the system to drive down costs for patients, including giving the government more authority to negotiate prescription prices for senior.

Seth Moulton (D)
Massachusetts Congressman

• Moulton supports allowing the government to negotiate drug prices for Medicare patients.
• Moulton points out the VA already does this and requires that drug providers charge no more than the lowest price paid by any private-sector buyer.

Beto O’Rourke (D)
Former Texas Congressman

• O’Rourke supports negotiating drug prices for Medicare’s outpatient prescription drug benefits.
• Under his Medicare plan, there will be no out of pocket cost for prescription drugs.

Tim Ryan (D)
Ohio Congressman

• Ryan supports allowing Medicare to directly negotiate drug prices
• Supports importing prescription drugs from other countries

Bernie Sanders (D)
Vermont Senator

• Sanders introduced three bills aimed at slashing high prescription drug costs, including allowing HHS secretary to negotiate with drug companies on Medicare prescription costs.
• Require pharmaceutical manufacturers to lower drug prices to the median price of five developed countries.
• He supports allowing Americans to import drugs from Canada.

Joe Sestak (D)
Former Pennsylvania Congressman

Sestak supports allowing Medicare to directly negotiate drug prices.
• Supports importing prescription drugs from other countries.
• Wants to ban the “pay for delay” practice.

Tom Steyer (D)
Hedge Fund Manager

• Steyer has not outlined a prescription drug proposal at this time.
In 2017, he supported a California bill that would require drug manufacturers to provide notification of price increases.

Donald Trump (R)
President of the United States

• The Trump administration is working toward a system allowing Americans to legally access lower-cost prescription drugs from Canada.

Elizabeth Warren (D)
Massachusetts Senator

• Warren proposed a bill to allow the federal government to produce prescription drugs, or contract an outside company, when medications become unaffordable.
• She wants the federal government to start producing insulin, which price has skyrocketed.

William Weld (R)
Former Massachusetts Governor

• Weld has not presented a prescription drug plan at this time.

Marianne Williamson (D)
Self-Help Author

• Williamson wants to focus on why we need so many prescription drugs.
• She wants to look at ways of treating mental health issues that don’t involve pharmaceuticals.

Andrew Yang (D)
Former Tech Executive

Yang wants to pressure companies to get their prices under control, using other countries as a baseline.
• He wants the government to license competitors if a company is determined to be charging too much for its drug.
• Yang wants to create public manufacturing facilities to produce generic drugs, to keep costs at a minimum.
• He supports allowing prescription medication imports from other countries.


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