Sanders questions HHS secretary on drug prices

WASHINGTON (WCAX) The U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services was grilled on Capitol Hill Tuesday about prescription drug prices. This just a month after President Trump announced an effort to lower drug costs for all Americans.

Secretary Alex Azar laid out the Trump administration's strategy. First, they want drug companies to include list prices in TV ads. Second, the President has promised stronger negotiations with Medicare. And third, the administration wants a more competitive marketplace.

Senator Bernie Sanders was among those critical of the plan. "Maybe we should learn something from companies -- from countries around the world that are negotiating drug prices, that are lowering prices, rather than demanding that countries around the world pay higher prices, which by the way I don't think they would," Sanders said.

In addition to using the buying power of Medicare to directly negotiate lower drug prices for seniors, Sanders has also said he wants to allow drug distributors and pharmacists to buy FDA-approved drugs from other countries where they are cheaper.

A Democratic Senator on the committee balked at the idea of incentivizing television commercials because drug companies already get tax breaks for them.