On Thursday, Bernie Sanders announced that he will be traveling to Canada later this month. He will be making the trip with a group of people with Type 1 diabetes that are seeking cheaper insulin prices.
The trip is part of his ongoing efforts to highlight the hardships that big pharma has imposed on Americans. The trip will take place before the CNN presidential primary debates.
Sanders has set the pace for health care debate in the 2020 debates. Other candidates have either signed on to his “Medicare for All” single payer plan or are discussing how their plan differs from his.
Sanders has long targeted pharmaceutical companies over the always increasing cost of prescription drugs. He has also made it clear that big pharma is at odds with what is in the best interest of the American public.
During an interview on Thursday with CNN, Sanders attributed the rising cost of drugs in the United States and the disparity with prices in Canada, to the overall difference between the health care systems in the two countries. His focus on prescription drugs is just one part of a broader push for the US to adopt a system much like the one that Canada currently uses.
“Canada has a nationalized, single-payer system that allows them to negotiate much better prices with the drug companies,” Sanders told CNN. “In our country, it is a much different story. The pharmaceutical companies brought in $69 billion in profit. That is insane and it is a real threat to the health of every American. Congress needs to do something about this and when I am president, we will lower the cost of prescription drugs.”
Sanders also stated that the Trump administration’s policies have only made things worse.
“He is not telling the truth, which likely comes as a surprise to no one,” Sanders said. “The cost of prescription drugs has gone up during his administration.”
Reportedly, over “30 million Americans have diabetes, with an estimated 7.5 million requiring insulin, according to the American Diabetes Association. More than 1.5 million of them have type 1 diabetes. The average price of the drug nearly tripled between 2002 and 2013,” the ADA said last year.
This trip will not be Sanders first one with individuals seeking cheaper prescription drug prices. Two decades ago, he traveled to Canada with a group of women battling breast cancer in search of lower drug prices.
“Now 20 years later, we are basically in the same place — we are going to take a group of people from Detroit into Windsor, Ontario, which is right over the border, to purchase the drugs they need to save their lives at a greatly reduced cost.”
Sanders has often brought up the first trip to Canada while on the campaign trail.
“I’ll never forget this as long as I live,” Sanders told a crowd in Marshalltown, Iowa, just last month. “These are women, working-class women, struggling with a life-and-death issue of breast cancer. We walked into the pharmacy there, and they bought what was then a widely prescribed breast cancer drug.”
Sanders frequently points to the Canadian and other health care systems as models for what Medicare for All in the US could become.
“If Canada can provide health care to every man, woman and child, and the UK and every other major country on earth, please do not tell me the US cannot do the same,” Sanders said at a recent town hall.