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)
• 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)
• 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)
• 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)
• 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)
• 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)
• Ryan supports allowing Medicare to directly negotiate drug prices
• Supports importing prescription drugs from other countries
Bernie Sanders (D)
• 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)
• 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)
• 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.