Progressives Outraged Over Booker, Democrats’ Vote on Prescription Drugs From Canada


Progressives Outraged Over Booker, Democrats’ Vote on Prescription Drugs From Canada

Progressives in the Democratic Party are outraged after 13 Democrats voted against an amendment that would have allowed Americans to buy cheaper prescription drugs from Canada, saying it’s a sign that Big Pharma has too much power in the party.

Large majorities of Americans think that prescription drug prices are too high, and support measures to lower them. A Kaiser Family Foundation poll from last September found that 71 percent supported importation of medicines from Canada.

Vote 48-50 (2 no votes)

Republicans who voted FOR the bill:

Boozman (R-AR)
Collins (R-ME)
Cruz (R-TX)
Flake (R-AZ)
Grassley (R-IA)
Heller (R-NV)
Kennedy (R-LA)
Lee (R-UT)
McCain (R-AZ)
Murkowski (R-AK)
Paul (R-KY)
Thune (R-SD)


This is a rare bill Bernie Sanders formulated that I would have voted in favor of. High pharmaceutical costs hit home. The reasons for rejection seem a bit hollow, IMO. But lobbying is a powerful force.


I think buying drugs from Canada is a little bit like a dog chasing his tail. There is some hazard he might catch it.

I have had occasion to study those Canadian drugs, and almost without exception they’re not quite the same thing as what we get here, even when the brand name is the same.

If you really look closely, a lot of them are 'equivalents" that don’t quite have the same formulation. I remember one, for example, (or rather two) that were said to be “equivalent” to a single formulation often prescribed here at a much higher price. But the two-for-one swap wasn’t quite the same as the single formulation because while the active ingredients were the same in combination, the non-active ingredients (like buffers) weren’t. Did it matter? I don’t know.

And you will very frequently find that “Canadian drugs” are actually made in places like Thailand or Bangladesh, even when they bear well known American brand names. Maybe that’s all okay, but I do wonder a bit.

But I will add that sometimes what the doctor prescribes for you can be replaced by another brand or a slightly different drug that has the same effect, or a combination that, together, contains what’s needed.

Doctors do that, perhaps at the bidding of pharma reps, but more likely it’s because they feel nervous from a malpractice standpoint for not prescribing “top of the line” and “foolproof” formulations. As soon as you prescribe a combination, you’re at greater risk because the patient might not take them correctly. And heaven help you as a doctor if you prescribe “off label” even if you know the drug is clinically right for the patient in this particular case, and the patient goes bad for any reason, related or not.

I don’t much doubt we in this country get the “best of the best” almost always. But we have to pay for it when we do.


There’s the concern for standards, but sometimes standards are just another regulation that gets in the way.

I think the people and their doctor need to decide on stuff like this, but the lower standards should be taken in account.

But it’s also my understanding on occasion, Americans have sought treatment abroad, and the standards really aren’t as high.

So overall I am fine with buying prescription drugs from Canada.

As far as Booker goes, I think this means–among other things— he’s not going to be the 2020 Democratic nominee.

It’s also a bad sign for the Castro Brothers, who were promoted with clenched teeth from liberal commentators deathly afraid of Rubio or Cruz being on the GOP ticket that they are also not liberal enough.


This afternoon, my wife and I took my sister-in-law and her husband out for lunch. My brother-in-law is a retired pharmacist. I noted this bill coming up for a vote and asked his opinion on Canadian pharmaceutical products and the difference in costs (via the US). His opinion was the disparity in costs is often from R&D and Liability insurance. Many of the drugs (in his opinion) were of good quality. Of course, this nothing but one man’s opinion.

I’d prefer to make my own decisions regarding taking generic or even drugs from Canada. Even if it meant wavering some liabilities. Unfortunately, it’s not an option. It baffles me.


It is possibly the case, I would just like to see an in-depth study on the matter.


I agree. I do think there needs to be a formal agreement that medicine abroad may have a different standard than domestic medicine.


Bernie and Sen Amy Klobuchar (D-MN)


The FDA keeps us safe from bogus medications. Say what you like about the FDA; I know they are not perfect, but look up how bad things were before the FDA. This is the kind of government regulation we need. Are Canadian drugs a way of getting around FDA regulations? If so, I would be wary.


Certainly. I note Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Rand Paul (R-KY) as well.


They may be different, but does that difference warrant government intervention. Which drug to use should be determined by an individual and their physician. I am not sure why it is the role of government to get in between the patient physician relationship.


I’m not to surprised by a vote like that. Drug manufacturers create many good paying jobs for many Americans.

In America we pay substantially more for medical care and drugs than other countries. 18% of our GDP goes toward medical expenses. Other western countries pay around half that amount and see similar health outcomes with treatments and life expectancy. It’s a decision we make though.

My guess is if Americans were allowed to buy less expensive drugs from Canada or other countries, outcomes will remain the same. Jobs will be lost though, and that of course causes economic pain.


Who were the democrats who voted against the bill?


Regardless of how you feel on the merits of re-importing drugs from Canada, it helps to follow the money if you want to understand Senator Booker’s vote:


Here is the vote grouped by State,

Alabama: Sessions (R-AL), Not Voting Shelby (R-AL), Nay
Alaska: Murkowski (R-AK), Yea Sullivan (R-AK), Nay
Arizona: Flake (R-AZ), Yea McCain (R-AZ), Yea
Arkansas: Boozman (R-AR), Yea Cotton (R-AR), Nay
California: Feinstein (D-CA), Not Voting Harris (D-CA), Yea
Colorado: Bennet (D-CO), Nay Gardner (R-CO), Nay
Connecticut: Blumenthal (D-CT), Yea Murphy (D-CT), Yea
Delaware: Carper (D-DE), Nay Coons (D-DE), Nay
Florida: Nelson (D-FL), Yea Rubio (R-FL), Nay
Georgia: Isakson (R-GA), Nay Perdue (R-GA), Nay
Hawaii: Hirono (D-HI), Yea Schatz (D-HI), Yea
Idaho: Crapo (R-ID), Nay Risch (R-ID), Nay
Illinois: Duckworth (D-IL), Yea Durbin (D-IL), Yea
Indiana: Donnelly (D-IN), Nay Young (R-IN), Nay
Iowa: Ernst (R-IA), Nay Grassley (R-IA), Yea
Kansas: Moran (R-KS), Nay Roberts (R-KS), Nay
Kentucky: McConnell (R-KY), Nay Paul (R-KY), Yea
Louisiana: Cassidy (R-LA), Nay Kennedy (R-LA), Yea
Maine: Collins (R-ME), Yea King (I-ME), Yea
Maryland: Cardin (D-MD), Yea Van Hollen (D-MD), Yea
Massachusetts: Markey (D-MA), Yea Warren (D-MA), Yea
Michigan: Peters (D-MI), Yea Stabenow (D-MI), Yea
Minnesota: Franken (D-MN), Yea Klobuchar (D-MN), Yea
Mississippi: Cochran (R-MS), Nay Wicker (R-MS), Nay
Missouri: Blunt (R-MO), Nay McCaskill (D-MO), Yea
Montana: Daines (R-MT), Nay Tester (D-MT), Nay
Nebraska: Fischer (R-NE), Nay Sasse (R-NE), Nay
Nevada: Cortez Masto (D-NV), Yea Heller (R-NV), Yea
New Hampshire: Hassan (D-NH), Yea Shaheen (D-NH), Yea
New Jersey: Booker (D-NJ), Nay Menendez (D-NJ), Nay
New Mexico: Heinrich (D-NM), Nay Udall (D-NM), Yea
New York: Gillibrand (D-NY), Yea Schumer (D-NY), Yea
North Carolina: Burr (R-NC), Nay Tillis (R-NC), Nay
North Dakota: Heitkamp (D-ND), Nay Hoeven (R-ND), Nay
Ohio: Brown (D-OH), Yea Portman (R-OH), Nay
Oklahoma: Inhofe (R-OK), Nay Lankford (R-OK), Nay
Oregon: Merkley (D-OR), Yea Wyden (D-OR), Yea
Pennsylvania: Casey (D-PA), Nay Toomey (R-PA), Nay
Rhode Island: Reed (D-RI), Yea Whitehouse (D-RI), Yea
South Carolina: Graham (R-SC), Nay Scott (R-SC), Nay
South Dakota: Rounds (R-SD), Nay Thune (R-SD), Yea
Tennessee: Alexander (R-TN), Nay Corker (R-TN), Nay
Texas: Cornyn (R-TX), Nay Cruz (R-TX), Yea
Utah: Hatch (R-UT), Nay Lee (R-UT), Yea
Vermont: Leahy (D-VT), Yea Sanders (I-VT), Yea
Virginia: Kaine (D-VA), Yea Warner (D-VA), Nay
Washington: Cantwell (D-WA), Nay Murray (D-WA), Nay
West Virginia: Capito (R-WV), Nay Manchin (D-WV), Yea
Wisconsin: Baldwin (D-WI), Yea Johnson (R-WI), Nay
Wyoming: Barrasso (R-WY), Nay Enzi (R-WY), Nay


Thanks! :slight_smile:


Expensive prices for drugs causes economic pain too as does higher prices in general. Maybe now after the unemployment rate has fallen below 5% under Barack Obama compared to where it was when Bush left office and over 11 million jobs have been created, Trump can now in his words be the greatest job creator God ever created :rolleyes: and cause prices to rise further. And then instead of Trump supporters complaining about jobs, they can complain about prices and inflation.


Most of the jobs created by Obama are temporary and part-time.

According to joint study by Princeton and Havard, many of the jobs “created” under Obama do not offer full-benefits.

I would further add that is likely the result of the AHA.

Also, many jobs were created despite his policies in places like North Dakota and Texas.

Regardring inflation, inflation is the result from the real value of money. This Administration greatly increased the potential for inflation by printing money, which just means the money is worth less.

Inflation may be a problem under Trump, but it won’t be because of Trump. The fed has been keeping interest rates low to compensate for inflation.

So, it’s big government that would be to blame for inflation.


Would you be in favor of reforming patent laws? They tend to get in the way.


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