A comment former Vice President Joe Biden offered at a private event at the home of a surgeon left some shaking their heads on Sunday, one of whom was Biden’s rival, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders. Sanders then issued a tweet Sunday afternoon speaking out against Biden.
Biden, who current polling data suggests is the front-runner among the still-crowded field of candidates vying for the Democratic Party’s nomination to take on President Donald Trump, was reportedly praising pharmaceutical companies at a private event with donors in an article published Sunday by Bloomberg.
The comments were made in a discussion about medical research and Biden’s own 2015 “moonshot” initiative to further increase research into cancer following the death of his son, Beau Biden, to the disease. But as Bloomberg noted, Biden’s comments raised eyebrows as his praise was not seemingly directed toward medical innovation, but was instead offered to the drug companies themselves.
The 76-year-old former Vice President has public criticized the pharmaceutical industry, and his campaign previously released a plan in order to end what Biden says is “drug corporations… profiteering off of the pocketbooks of sick individuals.” The plan put forth by Biden, aimed at reeling in high drug prices set by pharmaceutical companies, received criticism from the industry, who resists any attempt at further regulation, per Bloomberg.
Sanders, the progressive presidential candidate, was quick to tell his nearly 10 million Twitter followers that his views were at odds with those of the former Vice President.
I disagree with Joe Biden. The pharmaceutical companies are greedy, corrupt and engaged in price fixing. https://t.co/SXANOMKeXp— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) September 15, 2019
“At a time when their behavior is literally killing people, America needs a president who isn’t going to appease and compliment drug companies,” Sanders said. “We need a president who will take on the pharmaceutical industry – whether they like it or not. That is exactly what we will do.”
According to a June article from The New York Times, Sanders has called for drug prices in the United States to be cut in half. While The New York Times noted that tackling costly prescription drugs may be something that both members of the Democratic and Republican Party can agree on, it is difficult to pass meaningful legislation due to lobbying efforts from pharmaceutical companies.
I believe in guaranteeing health care as a right.— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) September 13, 2019
I believe we should not be the only major country not to provide paid family leave.
I believe every worker deserves a living wage.
I believe in an economy that works for all of us. pic.twitter.com/n8RDaQFAwO
As The Inquisitr previously reported, Sanders, a Medicare-for-All proponent, has taken issue with the companies in the past. In a recent interview, the Independent senator said while he supports research being done by these companies, many of them are less interested in creating new medications and are more willing to create “me-too drugs,” which he said are drugs that make modest changes to maximize profit without providing benefits to the public.
According to The New York Times, the United States spends quite a bit more money on prescription drugs than other comparable countries.