Next week, the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee will convene to hear testimony from the CEOs of Johnson & Johnson, Merck, and Bristol Myers Squibb on the prices of their drugs.
The executives agreed to testify after the committee’s chair, Vermont socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., threatened to issue subpoenas compelling them to appear. He’s relishing the chance to scold them. “Why does the United States pay, by far, the highest prices in the world for prescription drugs?” he asked in a letter last fall to the CEOs.
It’s a loaded question—one that’s ignorant of the American drug market. But if we take Sanders’s question at face value, there’s a simple answer—so that Americans can have access to the latest, most cutting-edge therapies before anyone else does.