Big Pharma-Backed Dems Join GOP to Block Sanders Effort to End Drug Price Gouging

Labor News

Introducing the amendment on Wednesday, Senator Bernie Sanders asked his senate colleagues if they "have the guts finally to stand up to the pharmaceutical industry and their lobbyists and their campaign contributions and fight for the American consumer?" (Photo: Kevin Dietsch/UPI)

Reprinted from Common Dreams by Lauren McCauley on January 12, 2017.

While the Republican Party is publicly dismantling millions of Americans’ health safety net, more than a dozen Democrats late Wednesday quietly threw their weight behind Big Pharma and voted down an amendment that would have allowed pharmacists to import identical—but much less expensive—drugs from Canada and other countries.

The “power and wealth of the pharmaceutical industry and their 1,300 lobbyists and unlimited sums of money have bought the United States Congress,” Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) declared in a speech on the Senate floor while introducing the amendment, co-sponsored by Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-Minnesota), which would have been attached to the chamber’s budget resolution. It came amid a flurry of legislative activity during Wednesday evening’s “vote-a-rama.” …

In fact, 13 Democrats voted against the measure (roll call here), siding with the Republican majority and drawing sharp rebuke from observers, who pointed out that many who voted “no” receive substantial contributions from the pharmaceutical industry. …

Common Dreams 1/12

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Jeff Burman served on the Guild’s Board of Directors from 1992 to 2019. He is now retired. He can be reached at

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