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NEWS: Sanders on NIH Proposal to Lower Prices for Taxpayer-Funded Drugs

WASHINGTON, May 21 — Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, released the following statement on Tuesday after the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) proposed a new policy to require companies that make drugs invented by NIH scientists more accessible:

Let me thank Dr. Monica Bertagnolli for releasing a plan today that will begin to make prescription drugs invented by scientists at the National Institutes of Health more accessible in the United States and throughout the world.

For nearly three decades, the NIH has given away prescription drugs invented by federal scientists to pharmaceutical companies with virtually no strings attached. As a result of this absurd policy, the average price of new medical treatments that NIH scientists helped invent is over $111,000 – including Hemgenix, which costs an astronomical $3.5 million and the cancer therapy Yescarta, which costs $424,000. I hope that today will mark the beginning of the end of that policy and will lead to substantially lower prices for prescription drugs developed at taxpayer expense.

As Chairman of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions, I look forward to continuing to work with the NIH and the Biden Administration to make sure that Americans no longer pay, by far, the highest prices in the world for prescription drugs, while also making life-saving medicine accessible to patients in low- and middle-income countries across the globe.