Santorum doles out tough medicine on drug costs

CBS

2012 - Florida Elections Rick Santorum speech
CBS

WOODLAND PARK, Colo. - As Rick Santorum sought on Wednesday to spread his message on health care to Coloradans, he gave an answer to a question from the audience that some may find a hard pill to swallow.

A young boy asked the former U.S. senator from Pennsylvania what he would do to keep prescription drugs affordable. Another woman in the audience chimed in that she couldn't afford her $900-a-month prescription.

Santorum compared the costs to buying an iPad. "People have no problem going out and buying an iPad for $900," he said. "But paying $200 for a drug they have a problem with -- that keeps you alive. Why? Because you've been conditioned in thinking health care is something you should get and not have to pay for."

Special Section: Campaign 2012

The mother of the young boy persisted, yelling out that she could barely afford to keep her son breathing. But Santorum didn't sugar-coat his answer.

"Look, I want your son and everybody to have the opportunity to stay alive on much-needed drugs," he said. "But the bottom line is, we have to give companies the incentive to make those drugs. And if they don't have the incentive to make those drugs, your son won't be alive and lots of other people in this country won't be alive."

Santorum went on to tell the crowd - made up largely of tea party supporters who applauded him - that people either believe in free markets or they don't.

Health care is set to be a major issue in the general election and Santorum is pushing the message that he is the only candidate who offers a clear contrast to President Obama. He boasted he was the author of the first health care savings-account bill and slammed rival Newt Gingrich for taking credit for the reform.

"He was speaker of the House," Santorum said. "That's like the CEO of an auto company claiming he built the car."

  • Megan Kelty

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