Political/moral leadership needed in drug prices battle

The various Democratic candidates for president and the man who currently holds the office, Republican Donald Trump, can find little to agree on these days. That shouldn’t surprise anyone as political polarization is arguably at an all-time high.

That said, the one issue that everyone, it seems, can agree on relates to the cost of prescription drugs: as a general proposition, they are too high and in some cases, obscenely and dangerously high.

The one life-giving drug so often cited in these discussions is insulin, needed by diabetics who are often reduced to rationing because of costs. Others head north to Canada, where specific types of insulin are available at one-tenth the cost in the U.S.

Canada has become such a popular destination that presidential candidate Bernie Sanders made his way there Sunday for a speech on the issue. Other Democratic candidates and President Trump have also addressed the high cost of prescription drugs and the fact that something must be done about it.

“They buy and sell politicians, Republicans and Democrats,” Sanders said outside the Olde Walker Pharmacy in Windsor in a Detroit News story on the matter. “In the last 20 years, they have spent billions of dollars on lobbying Congress to make sure they can continue to charge the American people any price they want.”

And what they want, most politicians and Americans agree, is too much. People are dying because they cannot afford their medications, the availability of medical insurance entirely aside.

Whether it’s single payer, some form of Obamacare or a private system, this is an issue that affects millions of our friends and neighbors. The drug companies know this and will pour millions into the upcoming presidential race to influence whoever wins.

America needs leadership — the political affiliation is unimportant — to step forward. Will it happen? Take a good, hard look at the candidates and you decide. Any of those folks look like they’re up for that fight?