In 2015 Senator Bernie Sanders went on an HCV rant to get the Department of Veteran Affairs (“VA”) to use special powers to override patents held by Gilead (NASDAQ:GILD) and Abbvie (NYSE:ABBV):

“I cannot think of another situation where the government-use provision [of the law that allows the VA to break the patents] should be applied,” Sanders wrote in a letter to Robert McDonald, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary. “Our nation’s veterans cannot, and should not, be denied treatment while drug companies rake in billions of dollars in profits.”

The VA had reallocated about $400 million for HCV treatments, but had stopped enrolling patients due to budget constraints. Sanders’ concerns come after a senior official at the VA accused the department of gross mismanagement and improperly spending about $5 billion annually on medical supplies. He was adamant that veterans receive best-in-class HCV treatment on par with what civilians received, and the Shock Exchange agreed with him.

That set off dueling plans to cut drug prices from Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump – two presidential candidates. Hillary outed price-gougers like Valeant and Martin Shkreli’s Turing Pharmaceuticals and Valeant. Trump also vowed to cut drug prices if he became president. However, after getting elected Trump was oddly silent on the issue.


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