News Release

Cory Booker Joins Republican Sen. Majority to Kill Cheaper Meds

Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator Craig Fugate and Property Casualty Insurers Association of American Vice President Donald Griffin testify before the Senate Housing, Transportation and Community Development Subcommittee at the Dirksen Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill July 30, 2014 in Washington, DC. The committee members questioned the witnesses about possible improvements to the flood insurance claims process in communities affected by Hurricane Sandy.

The Intercept reports: “Cory Booker Joins Senate Republicans to Kill Measure to Import Cheaper Medicine From Canada,” which states: “Bernie Sanders introduced a very simple symbolic amendment Wednesday night, urging the federal government to allow Americans to purchase pharmaceutical drugs from Canada, where they are considerably cheaper. Such unrestricted drug importation is currently prohibited by law.

“The policy has widespread support among Americans: one Kaiser poll taken in 2015 found that 72 percent of Americans are in favor of allowing for importation. President-elect Donald Trump also campaigned on a promise to allow for importation.

“The Senate voted down the amendment 52-46, with two senators not voting. Unusually, the vote was not purely along party lines: 13 Republicans joined Sanders and a majority of Democrats in supporting the amendment, while 13 Democrats and a majority of Republicans opposed it.

“One of those Democrats was New Jersey’s Cory Booker, who is considered a rising star in the party and a possible 2020 presidential contender.

“In a statement to the media after the vote, Booker’s office said he supports the importation of prescription drugs but that ‘any plan to allow the importation of prescription medications should also include consumer protections that ensure foreign drugs meet American safety standards. I opposed an amendment put forward last night that didn’t meet this test.'”This argument is the same one offered by the pharmaceutical industry. …

“Booker and some of his Democratic colleagues who opposed the Sanders amendment are longtime friends of the drug industry. As MapLight data shows, Booker has received more pharmaceutical manufacturing cash over the past six years than any other Democratic senator: $267,338. In addition, significant numbers of pharmaceutical and biotech firms reside in Booker’s home state of New Jersey. Other Democrats receiving six-figure donations from the industry, like [Bob] Casey, Patty Murray, and Michael Bennet, opposed the amendment.”

HILLARY McQUIE, JESSICA BASSETT, jessica[at]healthgap.org, @HealthGAP
    McQuie, director of U.S. Policy and Grassroots Mobilization at Health GAP. Bassett is director of communications for the group.

    McQuie said today: “As long as politicians continue to put pharma profits ahead of people’s lives, there will be persistent and deadly gaps in access to affordable lifesaving medicines — in the U.S. and abroad. This vote is a stark display of what happens when elected officials answer to pharmaceutical corporations instead of their constituents. Activists will hold them accountable.”