Bernie Sanders introduced a simple symbolic amendment Wednesday night, advocating the us government to permit Americans to buy prescription drugs from Canada, where they’re significantly cheaper. Such unrestricted drug importation is presently prohibited legally.
The policy has prevalent support among Americans: one Kaiser poll drawn in 2015 discovered that 72 percent of american citizens are in support of permitting importation. President-elect Jesse Trump also campaigned on the promise to match importation.
The Senate voted lower the amendment 52-46, with two senators not voting. Abnormally, the election wasn’t purely along party lines: 13 Republicans became a member of Sanders and most Democrats in supporting the amendment, while 13 Democrats and most Republicans opposed it.
Certainly one of individuals Democrats was New Jersey’s Cory Booker, who’s considered an increasing star within the party along with a possible 2020 presidential contender.
Inside a statement to the press following the election, Booker’s office stated he supports the importation of prescription medications however that “any intend to permit the importation of prescription drugs also needs to include consumer protections that ensure foreign drugs meet American safety standards. I opposed an amendment submit yesterday that didn’t meet this test.”
This argument is exactly the same one provided by the pharmaceutical industry. The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of the usa (PhRMA), which lobbies against importation, maintains that it opposes importation because “foreign governments won’t make sure that prescription medications entering the U.S. from abroad are effective and safe.Inches
The security excuse has lengthy been a refuge for policymakers who shouldn’t assist Americans battling with prescription medication costs. Bills to legalize importation passed in 2000 and 2007, but expired following the Clinton and Bush administrations declined to approve that it might be safe. The Obama administration also reported safety concerns when opposing an importation measure within the Affordable Care Act.
Another amendment Wednesday, created by Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden, might have permitted importation pending a security certification, similar to the previous laws and regulations passed about them. Additionally, it unsuccessful. Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa., used that amendment to assert on Twitter that he voted “to lower drug prices through importation from Canada,” and Booker known the Wyden amendment in the statement too. This can be a well-worn tactic from opponents of importation to mislead their constituents, because they know such certification won’t ever occur.
The security excuse is really a chimera, as the majority of the drugs that might be imported from Canada were initially produced in the U . s . States they’re just cheaper there, because the Canadian government utilizes a review board and cost settlement to create drugs less expensive.
“My first reaction to that’s show me the dead Canadians. Where would be the dead Canadians?” former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, a Republican, once requested throughout his own push to match importation.
Democrats blocked importation from becoming area of the Affordable Care Act in ’09, with more than 30 votes in opposition, simply because they feared it might have pressed the pharmaceutical industry to oppose the actual legislation. Additionally they voted in large figures to oppose importation as a part of an Food and drug administration bill this year.
Booker and his Democratic colleagues who opposed the Sanders amendment are longtime buddies from the drug industry. As MapLight data shows, Booker has gotten more pharmaceutical manufacturing cash in the last six years than every other Democratic senator: $267,338. Additionally, significant figures of pharmaceutical and biotech firms live in Booker’s home condition of Nj. Other Democrats receiving six-figure donations in the industry, like Casey, Wa State, and Michael Bennet, opposed the amendment.
Top photo: Booker in a Senate Housing, Transportation, and Community Development Subcommittee meeting on This summer 30, 2014, in Washington, D.C.