Republican presidential candidate Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., speaks at 1871, an entrepreneurial hub for digital startups Tuesday, July 7, 2015, in Chicago.
Photograph by Christian K. Lee — AP

The would-be Presidential nominee has some words for big pharmaceutical companies.

By Ben Geier
October 19, 2015

There’s been a lot of talk lately about how drug companies are profiteering on people’s illnesses and how the government needs to rein that in — as one would expect, most of that talk as been from Democrats. At least one Republican, though wants to get in on it.

Marco Rubio added his voice to the chorus of politicians bringing drug companies to task for charging insanely high prices.

“These companies decide, ‘We can get away with charging it, and so we do,'” the Florida Senator said last week, according to Bloomberg Politics.

Drug companies were in the spotlight during last week’s Democratic debate, when multiple candidates listed drug companies as the groups they were most proud to have as enemies. “Big Pharma” has traditionally been a solidly Republican donor and lobbying base.

Rubio’s campaign did walk back the statement slightly, noting that the candidate was only referring to some companies, but this does add a new wrinkle to the ongoing election process.

In an election that has focused on “outsider” candidates like Donald Trump, Carly Fiorina, and Ben Carson, Rubio is currently the highest-polling Republican who has actual political experience. If things end up going sideways for the three “outsiders,” as many still expect them to, Rubio would be the candidate best-positioned to swoop in and commandeer the race — a position he was able to move into following the well-documented struggles of fellow Floridian Jeb Bush.

Calling out the drug companies, though, would do well to endear Rubio to voters in a cycle increasingly driven by populist sentiments. If nothing else, it positions him to take on Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders on the issue in a general election if he does capture the nomination.

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