Hillary Clinton's Big Pharma Plan Is No Joke

by Jo Yurcaba

Hillary Clinton announced her plan to lower prescription drug prices by changing the way big drug companies do business, according to CNN. Clinton's plan targets big pharmaceutical companies with hopes to stop them from spending government grants on advertising and to allow the government to negotiate down the cost of prescription drugs. Does Clinton still have ties with big pharma companies? Her plan makes it pretty clear that those connections are probably long gone.

Lowering the costs of prescription drugs is one of the ways Clinton hopes to "build on" President Barack Obama's Affordable Care Act. Clinton's plan "would eliminate corporate write-offs for direct-to-consumer advertising" that "can include confusing, misleading, or incomplete information or exaggerated claims if not regulated effectively," according to a fact sheet on the plan that Clinton's aides shared with CNN. The plan would also require drug companies that receive government money for research to invest "a sufficient amount" of that money into research if they expect to continue receiving funds; additionally, it would limit the amount of money that patients under the ACA can spend monthly to cover out-of-pocket prescription drug costs to $250, according to CNN.

Though Democrats are usually at odds with big pharmaceutical companies, Clinton and Obama were the top recipients of donations from pharmaceutical companies during the 2008 election, according to CNN. Clinton also has close ties with pharmaceutical companies on behalf of the Clinton Foundation, which was working to discount AIDS drugs for poorer countries that had been hit hard by the virus, according to The Wall Street Journal. But it's clear from the plan that any financial ties Clinton used to have with big pharma are over.


On Monday morning, a tweet from Clinton led biotech stocks to plummet, according to CNN. Prices for a drug called Daraprim, which is used to treat a life-threatening parasitic infection, skyrocketed to $750 per pill from just $13.50 per pill overnight. Clinton sent out a New York Times article about it and said that price gouging like that is "outrageous" and is the kind of thing her plan will meet head on, according to CNN. A day after the tweet, biotech stocks had dropped significantly.

"It is time to deal with skyrocketing out-of-pocket costs and runaway prescription drug prices," Clinton said Monday during a campaign rally at Philander Smith College in Little Rock, Arkansas, according to Bloomberg. Clinton said nobody in America "should have to choose between buying the medicine they need and paying their rent."

And Clinton's goals are pretty important for the around half of all Americans, and 90 percent of senior citizens, who take a prescription drug, according to USA Today. A recent survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation found that more than 70 percent of Americans feel that drug costs are unreasonable and that drug companies put profits before people.

With this plan, the drug debate might finally be a matter of public health rather than a discussion of business strategies and profit maximization.