Bernie Sanders Launches Probe Into ‘Outrageously High Prices’ of Diabetes Drugs

Independent socialist Senator Bernie Sanders has launched an investigation into what he described as the “outrageously high prices” of diabetes and weight loss drugs Ozempic and Wegovy. Senator Sanders wrote to the CEO of producer Novo Nordisk, saying that the high costs could bankrupt Medicaid, Medicare, and “our entire health care system.”

Ozempic, which treats type 2 diabetes and is sometimes used as a weight loss aid, costs $969 for a monthly supply in the US, whereas in Canada, the same amount costs just $155. In Germany, the price is even lower at $59. Weight loss medication Wegovy is sold for $1,349 per month in the US, but $140 in Germany and $92 in the UK.

The Senator also said the prices are “especially outrageous” given the results of a recent Yale University report confirming that the medications can be manufactured for less than $5. Sanders described the situation as “unacceptable” and claimed Novo Nordisk had turned medication millions of Americans desperately need into a luxury item they cannot afford. Meanwhile, Sanders continued, the company made more than $12 billion in profits last year.

Mr. Sanders called upon Novo Nordisk to confirm if it intends to reduce prices and requested complete information about how much money it makes from Ozempic and Wegovy, how much it spends on research, and how it determines its pricing.

The Vermont Senator has long pressured drug companies to increase transparency and explain why Americans pay so much more for medications than citizens of other countries. In February, he grilled the CEOs of Merck, Johnson & Johnson, and Bristol Myers Squibb and accused them of exercising authority over the US government rather than the other way around.

He asked the executives to commit to lowering prices, but none would agree. Chris Boerner, CEO of Bristol Myers Squibb, said he could not make such promises because the price difference is due to the very different healthcare systems from one country to another.