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Bredesen discusses plan to reduce prescription drug prices during round table discussion in Franklin


Bredesen discusses plan to reduce prescription drug prices during round table discussion in Franklin

PHOTO: U.S. Senate Democratic nominee Phil Bredesen at Kimbros in Franklin on Wednesday / Photo by Alexander Willis

BY ALEXANDER WILLIS

U.S. Senate Democratic nominee Phil Bredesen visited Franklin on Wednesday to discuss his newly unveiled plan to reduce prescription drug prices for Americans.

As the largest purchaser of prescription drugs by a wide margin, the United States has seen tremendous spikes in drug prices over the years, with many Americans struggling to cope.

Photo by Alexander Willis

“One of the things that is striking about drug prices is how much higher they are in the United States for exactly the same thing as you get in other countries,” Bredesen said. “You hear a lot about Canada, but it’s probably even more true in France, Germany and the U.K.”

Bredesen cited a 2015 Bloomberg study that found that Americans often pay more than triple for the same prescription drugs than our European counterparts.

Crestor, a common drug used to treat high cholesterol, costs $8.70 in Australia for a one month supply. For a one month supply in the U.K., France and Canada, Crestor costs $25.80, $19.80 and $32.10, respectively.

In the U.S., a one month supply of Crestor costs $216. Even with a 60 percent discount that many insurance companies provide, the cost is still $86.40, well above the world average.

Bredesen said he would like to start negotiations with drug companies on costs, and even extended an invitation to President Trump to speak about the plan the next time he visits Tennessee.

“I’ve said I would like to find ways to work with the president,” Bredesen said. “You know he’s an excellent negotiator, and he wrote the Art of the Deal. I know he certainly would be familiar with that concept.”

Drug companies often cite research as a cause for the well-above average cost of prescription drugs in the United States. Bredesen argues that through negotiations, that cost burden could be more evenly distributed among other countries, lowering the cost for Americans.

“Whenever you try to worry about drug pricing, you get these objections from the big pharmaceutical companies,” Bredesen said. “Just like the president is saying every country ought to be contributing their fair share to NATO, I just say why I think every country ought to be to be contributing their fair share to that research, and not be something that is paid for by American taxpayers.”

Bredesen spoke on the expected blow back from such a policy from pharmaceutical companies and lobbyists, saying he expects it to be “enormous,” but that he believes that drug companies would likely have the same profitability as before – just more evenly distributed between countries.

“Here’s a way we can really take a dent out of this in a way that does not, in any way, get between the involvement of your doctor and you,” Bredesen said. “We’re simply saying we’re just going to buy it for you cheaper, and I think it will work.”

Early voting began on Wednesday, and will continue through November 1. For voting locations in Williamson County and further details, click here.

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