While We Weren’t Looking, Our Senators Voted for Big Pharma!

9 months ago Citizen#7 0

Sen. Klobuchar (D-MN) and Sen. Sanders (I-VT) introduced legislation to establish a deficit-neutral reserve fund relating to lower prescription drug prices for Americans by importing drugs from Canada. If passed Americans could buy cheaper prescription drugs from Canada. The bill was shot down in a 52 to 46 vote. Thirteen Republicans joined Sanders and voted for the bill. However 13 Democrats voted no.

Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) who received $385,678 from Pharmaceuticals/Health Products industry in 2016 explained his no vote. Senator Booker  in an email statement said, the amendment didn’t adequately make sure foreign drugs meet American safety standards.

I respect Senator Booker but I believe his rationale for voting no is full of beans and is an insult to the people of Canada. A bit of logic here, if the drugs sold in Canada weren’t safe, why haven’t we heard of the problems. I’ll tell you why, because there aren’t any, at least no more than in the U.S.

Sen. Booker wasn’t alone, Senators Murray and Cantwell were among the 13 Democrats that chose to vote no. Both Senators have gobbled up money from “Big Pharma”.  According to Open Secrets in 2016 Sen. Murray received the third largest contribution from the Pharmaceuticals and Health Products in the Senate. She received a whopping $477,444.00 dollars ($40,635 from drug maker Amgen). Senator Cantwell also received $446,766 from “Lobbyists” who aren’t specifically named but she also received $20,300 from drug maker Amgen in 2016.

Let’s Compare prices of some common drugs between Canada and the US

Drug                   Use                                  Canada                U.S.                       Company

Epipen –          Anaphylaxix                       $290                  $620                      Mylan – 9.43 billion profit in 2015

Crestor            High Cholesterol               $160                  $730                       Astra Zeneca – 2.83 billion profit in 2015

Premarin         Estrogen Therapy             $84                    $421                       Pfizer – 14 billion in profit in 2015

Abilify               Depression                        $436                  $2,626                   Otsuka Holdings – 694 million profit in 2015

Zetia                  High Cholesterol              $183                  $840                      Merck – Net income of 4.4 billion in 2015

Nexium             Heartburn                          $214                  $736                      Astra Zeneca 2.83 billion in profit in 2015

Synthroid          Hypothroidism                 $50                    $101                      Abbvie – 1.13 billion in profit in 2015

Januvia              Diabetes                             $225                  $1,064                  Merck – Net income of 4.4 billion in 2015

Celebrex             Arthritis                             $212                  $895                      Pfizer – 14 billion in profits in 2015

Advair                 Asthma & COPD              $212                  $980                      Glaxo Smith Kline – profit increase of 19% in 2015

The prices above between what Canadians pay and we U.S. citizens pay isn’t illegal, but the huge difference in price between what a customer in Canada pays and a customer in the U.S. pays  is immoral.

In 2013 the profit margin for pharmaceutical companies ranged from 10% to 42%, with an average of 18%. Pfizer was at the top of the profit list, and 4 other companies (Hoffman-La Roche, AbbVie, GlaxoSmithKline, and Eli Lilly) had profit margins of more than 20%. Source: Big Pharma Profits and the Public LosesMarch 2016 |The Milbank Quarterly | Catherine D. DeAngelis

Pharmaceutical companies are not going broke and are making massive amounts of money. It appears our Senators  have lost sight of who put them in office, and who they are supposed to represent. Both Cantwell and Murray’s websites offer no explanation for their vote.

Well we don’t have to take it, we can call our Senators and demand an explanation. We can let them know who voted them in office.

Call Senators Murray and Cantwell and express your opinion regarding their vote and what your expectations are for upcoming votes.

Senator Cantwell can be reached at (202) 224-3441

Senator Murray can be reached at (202) 224-2621