Democratic 2016 presidential candidate and former US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, delivers a speech on economic policy in New York, N.Y., on July 24, 2015.
Photo by Justin Lane/EPA

Hillary Clinton to take on pharmaceutical drug ads

If Hillary Clinton has her way, your TV watching may be less crowded with ads for “low T” and restless leg syndrome. 

Clinton will roll out a proposal in Iowa Tuesday to lower prescription drugs costs – a plan that is already affecting stock prices of drug companies. 

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Clinton has devoted this week of her presidential campaign to health care, and defended the Affordable Care Act while campaigning in Louisiana and Arkansas Monday. 

According to campaign official, Clinton’s will make a number of proposals favored by consumer advocates.

Clinton will call for cracking down on pharmaceutical drug ads by denying tax breaks for direct-to-consumer marketing and requiring the Food and Drug Administration to pre-clear the ads for accuracy and clarity.

The aim would be to push companies to invest more in research and development than marketing, especially taxpayer subsidies 

Clinton would also expand the availability of generics by boosting the FDA’s capacity to approve the drugs, and she’d decrease the intellectual property protections for expensive “biologic” drugs so generics could be produced faster. 

And she’d allow Americans to import cheaper drugs from Canada and other foreign country where the drugs are cheaper.

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To lower the cost of drugs for the millions of Americans on Medicare, she’d allow the government’s health care program for seniors to leverage its market share to demand lower prices, an idea she also favored during her 2008 campaign.

And to prevent drug costs from overwhelming the finances of people with chronic illness, Clinton’s plan would force health insurance companies to have a $250 cap on out-of-pocket expenses for prescription drugs. Up to a million Americans could benefit from this proposal every year.

Overall, according to the campaign official, Clinton believes drug companies need to be reined in as they are spending too much money on direct-to-consumer marketing while drug prices keep rising. 

A Kaiser Family Foundation said a survey had found that 72% of the public considered drug prices unreasonable.

On Monday, Clinton tweeted a New York Times story about a malaria drug that went from $13. 50 to $750 a tablet after new management bought the drug maker. “Price gouging like this in the specialty drug market is outrageous. Tomorrow I’ll lay out a plan to take it on,” Clinton said on Twitter.

On the strength of that one tweet alone, pharmaceutical stock prices slumped 4%, according to CNBC, with investors believing a Clinton presidency would be bad for biotech companies’ profit margins.

Health Care and Hillary Clinton

Hillary Clinton to take on pharmaceutical drug ads