Bernie Sanders coming to Canada with group seeking cheaper insulin

Click to play video 'Democratic debate: Bernie Sanders praises Canadian healthcare system' Democratic debate: Bernie Sanders praises Canadian healthcare system
WATCH (June 27, 2019): Bernie Sanders praises Canadian health-care system during Democratic debate.

Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders is coming to Canada later this month to draw attention to the high cost of prescription drugs in the U.S.

He said he’ll be crossing the border with a group of Type 1 diabetics, who can purchase insulin at one-tenth the cost in Canada.

The Vermont senator did not say where he would be visiting, but CNN reported he would be travelling through Detroit, which borders Windsor, Ont.

READ MORE: ‘This is a solvable issue’: Pricey insulin has Americans trekking to Canada in ‘caravans’

In an interview with CNN, Sanders said Canada’s single-payer health-care system “allows them to negotiate much better prices with the drug companies.”

Though Canada does not actually have a universal pharmacare system, the idea is under consideration. Currently, the federal government regulates the prices of patented drugs, and generic drugs are widely available.

Story continues below advertisement

WATCH: The rising cost of insulin in the U.S

Click to play video 'The rising cost of insulin in the U.S.' The rising cost of insulin in the U.S.
The rising cost of insulin in the U.S.

“In our country, it is a much different story,” Sanders continued. “The pharmaceutical companies brought in $69 billion in profit. That is insane, and it is a real threat to the health of every American. Congress needs to do something about this, and when I am president, we will lower the cost of prescription drugs.”

READ MORE: U.S. senator says Canada’s small population makes public health possible, but experts disagree

Americans have been crossing the border in so-called caravans to purchase insulin in the wake of rapidly rising prices.

According to one analysis, the price of insulin in the U.S. nearly doubled over a five-year period.

Story continues below advertisement


It found that the average Type 1 diabetes patient spent US$5,705 on insulin in 2016. In 2012, they spent roughly half that amount at $2,864. The means that for the average patient, who uses 60 units of insulin per day, the daily cost went from $7.80 to $15.

The U.S. Senate launched a bipartisan investigation into the high prices earlier this year.

—With files from Maham Abedi