Bernie Sanders hasn't lost his vigor since the election. After making the rounds on Sunday talk shows yesterday, the onetime presidential candidate came out swinging today against Marathon Pharmaceuticals, which recently set the price of a decades-old steroid treatment to $89,000 a year. The drug is widely available for about $1,000 a year in Canada and Europe, but was recently approved in the United States to treat Duchenne muscular dystrophy, a rare disease.
Sanders released a joint statement with Democratic Rep. Elijah Cummings of Maryland, accusing the drug company of abusing the "orphan drug" program, which in designed to encourage research into rare diseases by giving companies market exclusivity on drugs for seven years.
"Marathon's apparent abuse of government-granted exclusivity periods and incentives to sell what should be a widely available drug for $89,000 a year is unconscionable … Exorbitantly pricing potentially life-saving medications that should be widely available for a fraction of the price hinders patient access and drives up costs for the entire health care sector."