Democrat Hillary Clinton on Tuesday proposed a plan to regulate prescription drug costs by making pharmaceutical companies invest their profits in research and more imported generic drugs.
The frontrunner for the Democratic Presidential nomination outlined a proposal while at a campaign stop at the Moulton Elementary School in Des Moines, Iowa, with which a cap would be put for prescription drugs for people with chronic health problems. She proposes a $250 monthly cap on the out-of-pocket prescription drug costs, as well as other measures to end “price gouging” as she puts it. The monthly cap would limit the insurance companies asking individuals with chronic health problems for high prices on prescription drugs.
According to Reuters, Clinton made her comments after Turing Pharmaceuticals, a biotechnology company that announced a new price on the Daraprim treatment for parasitic infections, making it $750 a tablet, with the previous price being $13.50 per tablet. She stated “We need to protect hard-working Americans here at home from excessive costs. Too often these drugs cost a fortune.” She also added that drug companies are deciding to keep their profits for themselves while “shifting he cost to families.” She said “That is bad actors making a fortune off people’s misfortune.”
Clinton has been under pressure to propose populist measures that would appeal to the everyday American, since she has been losing her momentum in the leadership position for the Democratic Presidential nomination to Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders.
According to Reuters, even though candidates have been making such proposals to reduce drug costs and regulate pharmaceutical companies, there is the unavoidable need for the reforms to be approved by the Republican led Congress. Citi biotechnology analyst Liav Abraham stated that with candidates making proposals on drug pricing, “companies with less differentiated, more concentrated product portfolios are likely to come under increased political scrutiny.”
Clinton goal is to change the President Barack Obama’s signature Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, and put drug costs under control, as well as allowing Medicare, the health insurance program for the elderly to negotiate drug prices with pharmaceutical companies, especially for costly drugs that have limited competition. She also said that she would allow people to buy drugs from foreign countries, because they are often cheaper than in the United States.
Clinton’s argument is that with her plan she would be helping millions of American consumers, as well as encouraging drug innovation. She promises that if elected President she would scrutinize pharmaceutical companies who charge astronomical fees that go beyond their initial investments and make them reinvest federal dollars and not only charge huge prices for new drugs, while getting billions of taxpayer money for doing basic research.