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Buttigieg unveils aggressive plan to lower drug prices

Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg on Monday unveiled a far-reaching plan to lower the cost of prescription drugs, the latest tough proposal from the party’s 2020 hopefuls.

Buttigieg would allow both Medicare and the new public option plan he would create to negotiate lower prices for prescription drugs, and those lower prices would be available to people with private insurance too. 

The South Bend, Ind. mayor would cap out-of-pocket drug costs in Medicare at $200 per month and force drug companies to pay rebates back if their prices rose faster than inflation. 

For the “worst offender” companies, he would exercise rarely used authority under current law to strip firms of their patents if they were not offering a drug at a reasonable price. 

Buttigieg, who is behind the top tier of candidates in the polls, tied his plan to his argument for installing a younger generation of leaders such as himself. 

“It’s time for a new era of leadership in Washington who will finally make drugs affordable and take on pharmaceutical companies,” he said. 

Lowering drug prices is a top priority for voters and an idea that President Trump has embraced as well, though he is yet to take major action. That has led Democratic candidates to come out with a variety of aggressive plans.  

Bold plans to crack down on pharmaceutical companies has been a theme in the Democratic primary, with tough plans both from the more moderate side and from the leading progressives. 

Former Vice President Joe Biden, for example, also has a tough plan that would set up an independent review board to set a reasonable price for new drugs, among other steps. 

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) would allow the government to manufacture lower-cost generic drugs itself, while Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) would tie drug prices to lower prices paid in other countries. 

The Medicare for All plan backed by Warren and Sanders would also give the government much more power in setting lower prices for drugs.       

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