Bernie Sanders Starts Investigation Into Drug Prices

( – Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) chairs the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee and plans to use his position to look into pricing of two incredibly popular drugs, Ozempic and Wegovy, made by Novo Nordisk. Sanders suggested the company sets “outrageous high prices” for the drugs which are used to treat type 2 diabetes.

Sanders issued a letter to the company’s CEO, Lars Fruergaard Jørgensen giving him notice of an investigation into the pricing for the drugs. Sanders gave their scientists credit for developing the medicines, but suggested that their pricing was putting them out of reach for many Americans suffering with the condition.

Both drugs use semaglutide as their active ingredient, but they have different dosages and concentration. Both drugs have been used for weight loss, while Wegovy is specifically approved for the purpose while Ozempic is approved to treat type 2 diabetes.

Sanders raised a concern regarding the variation in the drugs’ prices across different markets. He pointed out that Ozempic runs $969 for a month’s supply in the U.S. while it’s just $59 in Germany and $155 in Canada. He also pointed out that Wegovy’s monthly cost runs $1,349 in the U.S. while it’s only $92 in the U.K. and $140 in Germany.

Sanders also included a report from Yale University that concluded that drugs could be manufactured for less than $5 per month. He called their prices “astronomically high” which makes them too costly for many Americans who could benefit from them. Sanders intimated that the pricing was making medicine for common conditions a luxury good.

Sanders also pulled in financial data showing that Novo Nordisk brought in more than $12 billion in profits in 2023, a 76% increase over their profits in 2021. He called the situation unacceptable and added that the extreme pricing could bankrupt Medicare and Medicaid which the government will not allow to happen.

A statement from the company suggested they would collaborate with the investigation and help find ways to reduce the prices.

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